Flensburger Schiffbau–Gesellschaft in Flensburg, Germany, the shipyard where the W.B. Yeats is being built, has yet to give Irish Ferries a revised date for the super ferry’s delivery. Following notification from the shipyard late last week that delivery would be delayed, Irish Ferries decided to cancel departures from Dublin to Cherbourg between 12th and 29th July and notified the 2,300 affected customers on Friday 20th April. By yesterday afternoon, Wednesday 25th April, some 1,725 customers had been reallocated alternative sailings to France with Irish Ferries, “along with a nominal gesture of goodwill”, 70 had opted to cancel with a full refund, and 505 were still to be determined.
Irish Ferries Statement
Yesterday, Dermot Merrigan, Head of Passenger Sales, in a statement to the trade, said: “As you are aware, we were contacted late last week by the shipyard in Germany commissioned with the building of ‘W.B. Yeats’, to be advised of a delay in the delivery of the vessel to Irish Ferries. This resulted in the cancellation of sailings on our Dublin – Cherbourg route over the period of 12th to 29th July next. Faced with the prospect of disrupting the holiday plans of many of our customers, we took the decision to immediately communicate with those impacted and our reservations teams have been working very hard since Saturday to contact and reroute our customers.
“With many of our trade partners having a vested interest in this situation, let me update you on our overall progress so far. As of 3pm today, Wednesday, the majority (75%) of the 2,300 affected bookings have agreed to be accommodated on alternate sailings to France with Irish Ferries, with a small number (3%) choosing to cancel and accept a full refund. The remaining customers are either in the process of being contacted or are currently considering their options.
“Mindful of the difficulties these cancellations posed to customers of our friends within the trade, throughout the weekend and by close of business on Monday, a dedicated team made direct contact with all those who had affected bookings and alternative travel arrangements were swiftly put in place. It was somewhat of a comfort to know, albeit far from ideal, that all affected bookings via the travel trade had been addressed or rescheduled.
“Given the extraordinary circumstances causing these cancellations, which are unfortunately outside of our control, we of course remain committed to continuing to assist in making alternative travel arrangements to France as best as we can. We have allocated all necessary resources to help our remaining passengers, so as to ensure that their travel arrangements to and from France can still proceed.
“On that note I would like to thank all of our partners for their kind words, patience and understanding over these last few days. Unfortunately the late delivery of ‘W.B. Yeats’ has caused much grievance at a time that we would all have not preferred and I fully respect and appreciate that it’s your direct customers’ holiday plans that must now be discussed and managed very carefully.
“On behalf of all the team at Irish Ferries, I sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused to all of our passengers and trade colleagues who had bookings on these sailings. For anyone needing further assistance or guidance, our Trade Support team are available to help via the normal channels.”