Big ship, big name
The keel has been laid on Irish Ferries' new, €144 million cruise ferry in a shipyard at Flensberg, Germany.
The 55,000 tonne vessel will be "the largest and most luxurious ferry to sail on the Irish Sea" when it is delivered in July 2018, the company says.
The cruise ferry, commissioned for year-round service on Dublin to Holyhead and Ireland to France routes, had its keel section laid this afternoon.
Once completed, it will have space for 1,885 passengers and crew, 440 cabins including luxury suites with private balconies and 2.8km of car deck space.
That's enough to accommodate 500 cars.
Described as"‘truly cruise class", on-board facilities will include bars and lounge space, á la carte and self-service restaurants, cinemas, a shopping mall and an exclusive Club Class lounge with private passenger access direct from vehicle decks.
Freight drivers will also have dedicated facilities (the vessel will carry up to 165 articulated trucks), while pets will also be catered for.
Bookings for the new cruise ferry will open in the next month, with operational and scheduling details due to be announced shortly.
But the big question... what will it be called?
That's up to you. Irish Ferries wants the public to suggest a name for its new flagship, with participants entered into a draw to win free ferry travel for life.
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The company is seeking a "big, Irish, literary-sized name" that "conveys a sense of Ireland and our country’s literary past in a way that would have a proud and emotional appeal to Irish people, tourists and freight customers alike," it says.
Entries can be submitted online via bigshipbigname.com.
So, Ferry McFerryface, anyone?