Stena’s Superfast X ferry, due to make its debut sailing from Holyhead to Dublin Port next week, has left its Polish shipyard.
The Superfast X is the latest flagship for Stena Line, and a sister to the Superfast VII and VIII ships that have operated the Belfast to Cairnryan route since 2011.
Boasting 10 decks, the new ferry will carry up to 1,200 passengers with almost two kilometres of lane space for vehicles and freight traffic.
The Superfast X will make two return sailings daily between Dublin and Holyhead, completing the crossing in 3 hours and 15 minutes.
Fares are currently available from €89 for a single car and driver.
Stena Superfast X, in dock at Gdynia, Poland.
The new arrival comes hot on the heels of Stena Line’s decision to axe its seasonal ferry services from Dun Laoghaire.
The service, run on the HSS Stena Explorer between Dun Laoghaire and Wales since 1995, will not be resumed in 2015.
The company viewed the route as “unsustainable”, it has said, and is now concentrating on its Irish services in Dublin Port.
Passengers travelling on the Stena Superfast X from will enjoy “deluxe” cabins, free Wi-Fi, a Barista Coffee House, Met Bar and Grill, retail shopping in the ‘Outlet’, two free cinemas and a family lounge featuring X-Box stations, the company says.
The Superfast X is also fitted out with a dedicated freight driver lounge and the premium Stena Plus lounge.
“We have left no stone unturned, from the type of bed linen used in our cabins to the quality and comfort of our seating onboard,” said Stena Line’s Head of Travel Orla Noonan.
An artist's impression of the new ship's retail area.
The new ship leaves Poland’s Gdynia shipyard at a time when commercial and leisure traffic between Ireland and Britain are showing signs of growth.
It will facilitate “a significant increase in capacity” for leisure and freight traffic on the Holyhead-Dublin route, the company says.
“By introducing a much larger ship onto the route, we are demonstrating our confidence and commitment to driving forward the economies on both sides of the Irish Sea,” said Ian Davies, Stena Line’s Route Manager, Irish Sea South.
Despite cutting its Dun Laoghaire service, Stena Line has invested over £250m (roughly €341 million, at today’s exchange) across its Irish Sea operations in the past five years, he added.
Superfast X will operate alongside the Stena Adventurer, providing Stena customers with a choice of up 28 return sailings per week year-round on the route.
Irish Ferries’s Ulysses (3 hours 15 minutes) and Jonathan Swift (1 hour 49 minutes) also make several daily sailings between Dublin and Holyhead.