Irish Ferries parent company, Irish Continental Group plc, has announced an agreement with German company Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesselschaft & Co KG, to build a new cruise ferry costing €144 million and scheduled for delivery in May 2018.
The huge new cruise ferry will accommodate 1,885 passengers and crew, with a dedicated car deck with capacity for 300 passenger cars, plus 435 cabins and capacity for 165 freight vehicles.
The cruise ferry will be designed and built to the highest standards of cruise shipping, and equipped with efficiency and comfort in mind. Emissions scrubber technology and ballast water systems will meet current and known future environmental regulations, and will deliver optimal fuel consumption while minimising related costs.
Passenger facilities will be spread over four decks and will offer a choice of 435 cabins, to include suites with their own private external balconies, along with deluxe and standard class accommodation.
In addition to a wide choice of bars and restaurants (to include à la carte and self-service options), special provision is made for premium Club Class passengers, with a dedicated lounge featuring private access direct from the vehicle decks.
A choice of state-of-the-art entertainment options and cinemas, retail outlets and onboard facilities for pets will ensure that all passengers will be comfortable and engaged throughout their journey. Freight drivers will have their own dedicated facilities.
It is likely that the new cruise ferry will be introduced on routes served by the chartered ship MV Epsilon, (currently year-round services Dublin – Holyhead midweek, and Ireland – France on weekends). The cruise ferry will provide additional capacity on both routes and will deliver a much enhanced onboard experience for all customers.
Cruise Ferry Particulars
Gross tonnage (estimated): 50,000 tonnes
Deck capacity (mixture): Cars 300 and Trucks 165
Passenger/Crew capacity: 1,885
Passenger Cabins: 435
Engine/output (four engines): 33,600kW
Speed: 22.5 knots
Eamonn Rothwell, Chief Executive, said: “This investment underpins the confidence the Group has in both the freight and passenger tourism markets between Ireland, Britain and France. The construction of a cruise ferry of this size will offer a premium experience for all our customers, in line with our commitment to deliver the best in service, in reliability and flexibility across all our routes. We also expect to be well positioned to accommodate the changing expectations of our customers, and to benefit from significant operational and financial benefits following the delivery in 2018.”
The cruise ferry will be powered by four main engines delivering 33,600kW of power, which will ensure a high degree of service reliability similar to that already achieved by the existing owned fleet of modern cruise ferries.
The cruise ferry will be designed to best meet the operational seasonality of Irish Ferries’ business. This flexibility in design includes the ability to service all of Irish Ferries’ existing routes, and will provide even greater route management options.