Menu

Ireland's sailing, boating & maritime magazine

In association with ISA Logo Irish Sailing

Stena’s New Dublin-Holyhead ‘Superfast’ Ferry On Delivery Voyage

25th February 2015
Stena_Superfast_X
The Stena Superfast X
Stena’s New Dublin-Holyhead ‘Superfast’ Ferry On Delivery Voyage

#StenaSuperfast – Stena Line's latest flagship, Stena Superfast X which is to make her debut on the Dublin-Holyhead route next month is on her delivery voyage to the Irish Sea, writes Jehan Ashmore.

According to her master, Captain Richard Davies said "It is great to be back at sea and looking forward to bringing this magnificent vessel to her new home on the Irish Sea."

The 30,000 tonnes newcomer is currently off Scotland's west coast having sailed across the North Sea and passed offshore of John O'Groats at teatime yesterday. She had departed from Gdynia, Poland after an extensive refit to enhance levels of facilities for her 1,200 passengers.

Introduction of Superfast X will raise the bar on the core Irish Sea route also operated by close rivals Irish Ferries with the Ulysses, Epsilon and fast-ferry Jonathan Swift. 

Stena Superfast X is to make her first call to her new homeport of Holyhead and is understood to be tomorrow around dawn. At a later stage she will visit Dublin Port for further berthing trials before entering service alongside Stena Adventurer.

The decision by Stena to concentrate all operations in Dublin Port follows the company's announcement earlier this month to axe the loss making Dun Laoghaire-Holyhead route. The historic link had been served by the Stena HSS high speed sea-service craft, Stena Explorer which began service in 1995.

The debut of Superfast X on the Dublin route will see the ferry boast 10 decks. Among the fitted-out facilities on her passenger decks are a premium lounge, several dining options, a cinema and in the family lounge, X-Box stations for entertainment.

She also has almost 2 kilometres of lane space for vehicles and freight traffic on the core central corridor route. Freight drivers will have their own dedicated lounge.

The newcomer follows a pair of Superfast sisters VII and VIII which also transformed services when Stena launched in 2011 a new route between Belfast and Cairnryan.

Published in Ferry
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

Email The Author

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. 

We've got a favour to ask

More people are reading Afloat.ie than ever thanks to the power of the internet but we're in stormy seas because advertising revenues across the media are falling fast. Unlike many news sites, we haven’t put up a paywall because we want to keep our marine journalism open.

Afloat.ie is Ireland's only full–time marine journalism team and it takes time, money and hard work to produce our content.

So you can see why we need to ask for your help.

If everyone chipped in, we can enhance our coverage and our future would be more secure. You can help us through a small donation. Thank you.

Direct Donation to Afloat button

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!

Who is Your Sailor Sailor of the Year 2019?
Total Votes:
First Vote:
Last Vote:

Featured Sailing School

INSS sidebutton

Featured Clubs

dbsc mainbutton
Howth Yacht Club
Kinsale Yacht Club
National Yacht Club
Royal Cork Yacht Club
Royal Irish Yacht club
Royal Saint George Yacht Club

Featured Brokers

leinster sidebutton

Featured Webcams

Featured Associations

ISA sidebutton
ICRA
isora sidebutton

Featured Events 2020

Featured Chandleries

CHMarine Afloat logo
osm sidebutton
viking sidebutton

Featured Sailmakers

northsails sidebutton
uksails sidebutton

Featured Marinas

dlmarina sidebutton

Featured Blogs

W M Nixon - Sailing on Saturday
podcast sidebutton
mansfield sidebutton
BSB sidebutton
sellingboat sidebutton

Please show your support for Afloat by donating