Irish Ferries customers fear for their holidays over booking delay
Delays are the latest frustration for customers following the cancellation of WB Yeats sailings this summer
Irish Ferries customers are unable to book sailings for their summer holidays to France, with the company yet to publish its 2019 schedule for the routes.
The issue has caused some concern among customers who have already booked accommodation.
"I'm beginning to panic," one customer commented on its Facebook page. "I have the campsite booked... Don't want to lose my holiday."
Another customer said they were told in August that the schedule would be announced in the next few weeks - but is still waiting: "It would have to be in the next week or so as I'm in the same situation. Campsite booked. No ferry."
Irish Ferries or its owner, Irish Continental Group, did not respond to several requests for comment from the Irish Independent, both directly and via its PR firm, but has been posting the following message on its social media accounts:
"We are unable to advise of a confirmed date for our 2019 schedule launch at the moment, but this will indeed be soon."
The delay is unusual. Ferry companies vary the publication of their schedules, but Stena Line's 2019 sailings have been available for approximately 18 months, while Brittany Ferries has been selling its 2019 Cork/Roscoff fares since July 24.
Sailings on Irish Sea routes to Pembroke and Holyhead are available to book up to mid-April on IrishFerries.com.
However, customers are being invited only to "register their interest" for 2019 Cherbourg routes on the website. Callers to its customer centre are being told the hold-up is due to a delay putting the schedule into its system.
Last June, the travel plans of some 19,000 Irish Ferries customers were disrupted when the company announced the delayed arrival of its €147m WB Yeats ferry, cancelling all of the ship's planned sailings.
No updated delivery date has been given for the vessel.
After Irish Ferries cancelled those W.B. Yeats bookings, affected customers were offered a €150 voucher for use in 2019, along with refund and re-routing options.
In the absence of a 2019 schedule, however, they have been unable to use the voucher towards sailings between Dublin/Rosslare and Cherbourg.