The completed hull of the new Irish Ferries cruise ferry W. B. Yeats has been launched at Flensburger Schiffbau–Gesellschaft shipyard.
The €150M (US$183M), 54,985 gt cruise ferry will arrive in Dublin in July when it will enter year-round service on 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 technical, operational, décor, furnishings and passenger amenities.
It will undergo sea trials, crew training and docking procedures at the Irish, UK and French ports into which it will operate before scheduled services commence.
Set to be the largest ferry on the Irish Sea, W. B. Yeats will have space for 1,885 passengers and crew, 435 cabins including luxury suites with private balconies and almost 3 km of car deck space.
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, the UK and continental Europe bringing with it new standards in terms of passenger and freight capacity, comfort and reliability beyond anything previously envisaged”.
Flensburger shipyard will shortly commence building a second, larger cruise ferry for delivery in 2020 which was commissioned a few weeks ago by Irish Ferries parent, Irish Continental Group plc at a contract price of €165.2M.
Intended for service on the Dublin – Holyhead route, Irish Ferries said this second new vessel will be the largest cruise ferry in the world in terms of vehicle capacity with accommodation for 1,800 passengers and crew. Its vehicle decks will have 5,610 freight lane metres, providing the capability to carry 330 freight units per sailing – a 50% increase in peak freight capacity compared to the current vessel Ulysses.