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Irish Ferries to Launch New Direct Dublin Port-France Route

27th November 2013
Irish Ferries to Launch New Direct Dublin Port-France Route

#NewFerryRoute - Irish Ferries are to launch in 2014 a new direct passenger car ferry service linking Dublin with the French port of Cherbourg with the first sailing departing from Dublin Port on Saturday 18 January.

The once-weekly, year round service – which the company's head of passenger sales Dermot Merrigan says "will bring the European motorways directly into the heart of our capital city" – will depart from Dublin every Saturday (15.30) arriving into Cherbourg next morning (11.30). Return sailings will depart Cherbourg each Sunday (17.00) with early arrival back in Dublin on Monday morning (11.00).

The new route will be operated by the passenger car and freight ferry vessel mv Epsilon which Irish Ferries as previously reported on Afloat.ie has recently secured under a charter arrangement.

On its new Dublin to Cherbourg route, Irish Ferries will provide a third route option, augmenting the company's long-established services from Rosslare to Cherbourg and Rosslare to Roscoff. Sure to be popular with families and holidaymakers alike, this new direct service from Dublin is timed to arrive in Cherbourg early enough to facilitate easy onward travel to campsites and holiday centres throughout France.

With the introduction of the Epsilon and their new route from Dublin to Cherbourg, the intention on the part of Irish Ferries is to provide an economy-style service distinctly different from that operated by their cruise ferry Oscar Wilde which will continue to service routes from Rosslare to Cherbourg and Rosslare to Roscoff as before.

Because of the more limited range of cabins and passenger attractions on board the Epsilon when compared to the Oscar Wilde, Irish Ferries is seizing the opportunity to offer customers lower fares and an even broader choice of route options. In this way, the company is extending the appeal of a motoring holiday in France to an even wider segment of the market.

Built in 2011, the Epsilon has capacity for 500 passengers. Economy style facilities on board include a bar, cafeteria, self-service restaurant, two and four berth cabins, free wi-fi service and 2,860 lane metres of vehicle deck parking space.

Commenting further, Dermot Merrigan said "our new Dublin to Cherbourg direct service will appeal to those living within and beyond our capital city. Fast access straight through the city or via the Dublin Port Tunnel ensures that our new Ireland – France service will be more accessible to all."

Fares for this new Dublin to Cherbourg car ferry service are from €99 for a car & driver.

Published in Ferry
Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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