#ferries - Irish Ferries new cruiseferry W.B. Yeats is finally to enter service by making a maiden commercial sailing on the Dublin-Holyhead route this Sunday, albeit the giant ship will only take freight vehicles and drivers, writes Jehan Ashmore.
According to the operator's freight website, the first sailing to be operated by W.B. Yeats is from Dublin Port on January 13th with a scheduled departure time of 20.55hrs. The €147m cruiseferry of around 51,000 gross tonnage can handle 1,200 vehicles, is to sail the core Irish Sea crossing with an arrival time in the north Wales port the next day at 00.10hrs.
The first full service including passengers is to take place later this month as previously reported on Afloat.ie, when the 1,885 passenger and crew capacity cruiseferry departs the Irish capital on Friday, 25th January. On the occasion of this maiden crossing, however the sailing is to depart in the early hours at 02.00hrs.
The debut of WB Yeats which has 440 cabins, will see the ship take over the routine sailing roster of Ulysses. The 2001 built ferry is to undergo an annual dry-docking, leaving Oscar Wilde to maintain sailings based on carrying both passengers and freight.
Before this take place, as a matter of reflection it is almost a month since W.B. Yeats docked in the Irish capital for the first time, having made a delivery voyage from Germany..
The shipyard, Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesellschaft located in Flensburg was beset with delays in completing the 194m long newbuild. The delays FSG cited were due to the delivery of interior components for public areas and electrical systems installed in the hull and deckhouse.
After months behind schedule, which led to cancellation of thousands of high-season holidays makers booked on the Dublin-Cherbourg route, W.B. Yeats will now first enter service instead on the Ireland-Wales route. It was originally planned to have the new ferry take up this service in September following the end of last year's summer sailings on the Dublin-Cherbourg route.
As for the French connection, Irish Ferries have given a mid-March date for the launch on the direct route to continental Europe.