JANUARY 22, 2018 — The completed hull of the new Irish Ferries cruise ferry W. B. Yeats was launched January 19 by German shipbuilder Flensburger Schiffbau Gesellschaft (FSG)
The €150 million (about $184 million), 54,985 gt cruise ferry will arrive in Dublin next July when it will enter year-round service on the Ireland – France and Dublin – Holyhead routes. In the intervening months, remaining construction work on the hull will be completed and the vessel fitted out with all of the technical, operational, décor, furnishings and passenger amenities required onboard. Before entering scheduled services, the vessel will undergo sea trials, crew training and docking procedures at the Irish, U.K. and French ports into which it will operate.
Set to be the largest and most luxurious ferry ever to sail on the Irish Sea, the W. B. Yeats will have space for 1,885 passengers and crew, 435 cabins including luxury suites with their own private balconies, and almost 3 km of car deck space. However, it will hold that “largest ever” title only until 2020. Earlier this month Irish Continental Group plc — the parent of Irish Ferries — placed an order worth €165.2 million (about $198 million) with FSG, for a second, even larger cruise ferry for delivery in 2020.
Intended for service on the Dublin – Holyhead route, this second new vessel will be the largest cruise ferry in the world in terms of vehicle capacity with accommodations for 1,800 passengers and crew. Its vehicle decks will have 5,610 freight lane meters, providing the capability to carry 330 freight units per sailing – a 50% increase in peak freight capacity compared to the current vessel on the route.
In a comment, Irish Ferries managing director, Andrew Sheen. said: “the launch of our new cruise ferry W. B. Yeats – and the expectation of our second new cruise ferry yet to come – herald in a new era in ferry travel between Ireland, U.K, and Continental Europe bringing with it new standards in terms of passenger and freight capacity, comfort and reliability beyond anything previously envisaged.”