Irish Ferries has published details of the new sailings schedule it will introduce following the arrival in mid-2018 of its new 55,000 tonnes cruise ferry W.B. Yeats currently being built at Flensburg, Germany, writes Trish Whelan.
Described by its managing director, Andrew Sheen, as a plan ‘to be welcomed by all interests and one that will give a significant boost to Irish tourism and trade, the proposed new sailings and scheduling arrangement will give passengers and freight customers alike more choice in terms of routes and departure dates, particularly on services to France.
Ireland - France:
On Ireland - France routes, the introduction of W.B. Yeats will enable Irish Ferries to double the current number of sailings between the two countries with planned daily departures in alternate directions.
On the Dublin - Cherbourg route, the W.B. Yeats will operate up to four return sailings weekly. In parallel, the company’s scheduled services from Rosslare to Cherbourg and Roscoff (operated by the cruise ferry Oscar Wilde) will include more summertime departures to the Breton port of Roscoff. In the off-peak winter season, the Epsilon will replace the W.B. Yeats providing a year-round service from Dublin to the Continent for both freight and tourism customers.
Ireland - UK:
From mid-September next, W.B. Yeats will transfer to the busy Dublin - Holyhead route, taking up service alongside the Ulysses.
Adding its passenger and vehicle carrying capacity to that of Ulysses - the world’s largest car ferry when introduced in 2001 - the move will see customers benefit from an increase in sailings frequency and an expansion in the passenger, tourist car, coach and freight carrying capacity. The Dublin Swift fast ferry will operate a summer only schedule next year and will return to Irish Sea service in early April 2019.
July 2018 arrival:
Looking ahead to the launch of W.B. Yeats and its arrival into Dublin next July, Andrew Sheen of Irish Ferries said ‘the service we envisage post its introduction is one that will raise ferry travel to new levels of luxury, comfort and reliability never before offered in the Irish marketplace’.
The new W.B. Yeats will be the largest and most luxurious ferry ever to sail on the Irish Sea with space on board for 1,885 passengers and crew, 1,200 cars in 4kms of vehicle deck space, and 441 cabins, with a variety of cabin grades including luxury suites. A waiter service a la carte restaurant, choice of lounges, an outside promenade deck and a host of entertainment options are amongst its other features.