Sunday 19 August 2018

'After this we won’t be booking again' - Irish Ferries passenger of 30 years "extremely disappointed" with summer cancellations

Laura Dunne is just one of the up to 19,000 passengers who have had their holiday plans thrown into disarray further delays to the arrival of new ship

Irish Ferries' new €147m cruise ferry (artist's impression from front)
Irish Ferries' new €147m cruise ferry (artist's impression from front)

Kyle Ewald

“For the 30 years we’ve booked with [Irish Ferries] we’ve never had any issues—but after this we won’t be booking again,” said a woman who had to reroute a family holiday for seven after Irish Ferries cancelled all booking on its new W.B. Yeats ferry for the month of August.

Dublin-based Laura Dunne is just one of the up to 19,000 passengers who have had their holiday plans thrown into disarray following the announcement that the new ferry will not be ready for use this summer.

Ms Dunne was planning to travel to France with her parents, her partner, their child, her brother and his partner at the end August, but has had to “reroute their entire trip without any help”.

“We are still doing the whole trip, but out of order. We will have to do a lot more driving and sort out camp sites that we already booked, but we already booked the time off so are definitely going,” Ms Dunne told Independent.ie.

“It’s just really disappointing because we have gotten no response whatsoever. We rang, we emailed, we on hold for an hour and still nothing.”

The Irish Ferries customer said she has rebooked all seven members on Brittany Ferries, but believes she was “lucky to call ahead, before everyone else tried the same”.

“Brittany Ferries rebooked the whole group at once which is great, but we were lucky we thought to do that early on or we would be really stuck—especially because there’s a big group of us.”

Sailings on the new €147m ship were due to start between Ireland, France and the UK from July 30, but have been suspended until September 13, cancelling all bookings up to then.

“Irish Ferries regrets to announce that, due to extraordinary circumstances beyond its control, the delivery of the W.B. Yeats has been further delayed by FSG,” the company said in a statement today.

FSG — Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft & Co. KG — is the German ship builder commissioned to deliver the new vessel.

A further 2,500 bookings were disrupted last April when Irish Ferries cancelled sailings between July 12 and 29. Following the latest disruption, all Dublin-Cherbourg sailings up to September 13 have been cancelled. The ship is now set to debut this autumn on its Dublin-Holyhead route.

FSG said the setbacks are “due to delays in the delivery of interior components for public areas and on the electrical system installation in the hull and deckhouse”.

Irish Ferries are offering passengers alternative options to reach their destination including alternate direct sailings to France on the Oscar Wilde, a ‘land-bridge’ option that involves sailing to the UK from either Dublin or Rosslare and then onwards to France, or a “full and immediate” refund.  

Customers affected by the cancellations are being offered €150 voucher—however it can only be used to Ireland-France routes “next year” and not the 2018 season.

Ms Dunne said her mother is “extremely upset and feels lied to” after calling the company yesterday to confirm the booking and paying the balance for their trip.

“She was assured everything was going ahead as scheduled, no issues. We can’t even call to rearrange.”

“We won’t be booking in the future so the voucher seems a bit pointless now because we’ll never use it.”

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