VIDEO: Ex Westpac Express now largest high speed ferry on Irish SeaWritten by Nick Blenkey
APRIL 27, 2018 — The former Westpac Express, an Austal high speed cat delivered in 2001 and chartered by the U.S. Navy’s Military Sealift until January 2018, has now entered service with Irish Ferries as the Dublin Swift, following an extensive refurbishment at the Harland & Wolff shipyard in Belfast.
The 100.9 m Dublin Swift replaces a smaller Austal cat, the Jonathan Swift, delivered in 1999, on the Dublin Holyhead route and is now the largest fast ferry crossing the Irish Sea.
It will operate at a cruising speed of 35 knots on the same frequency of twice daily return sailings as the vessel it is replacing, but has greater car (220) and passenger (820) carrying capacity and offers a completely redesigned interior and a significantly upgraded level of passenger accommodations.
Configured somewhat differently on the inside, the passenger accommodation area is arranged on a single deck rather than the double deck layout familiar to passengers on the Jonathan Swift.
Needless to say, passenger amenities are somewhat different than those provided by MSC during the vessel’s service as Westpac Express.
Onboard facilities include a dedicated TV snug, cafeteria, self-service restaurant and games area. Passengers have a choice with spacious seating accommodation in the standard cabin, or plush reclining seats with views to sea, in-seat recharging points and complementary refreshments in the Club Class Lounge at the very front of the ship. Free Wi-Fi is offered throughout.
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