#ferries - W.B. Yeats has finally made its maiden sailing this morning, as the €147m cruiseferry completed a Dublin-Holyhead crossing by arriving in the Welsh port before lunch-hour, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The impressive 1,885 passenger and crew/300 car/165 truck capacity newbuild ordered by ICG, parent company of Irish Ferries, which was beset with delays at the FSG shipyard in Germany, is now the biggest ever ferry to operate on the Irish Sea.
W.B. Yeats berthed in the Anglesea port though around an hour later than scheduled at 12.20 when Afloat tracked the ship dock in the outer port. This took place in advance of the original scheduled inaugural sailing planned for this Friday. In addition neither did 'freight' only sailings commence as scheduled, which were due to have begun more than a week ago.
This afternoon (14.00) the newbuild is to carry more passengers and freight with the first return leg of the route from Wales.
At around, 51,000 gross tonnage, W.B. Yeats will be a significant boost on the core Irish Sea route, which up till now was served primarily by Ulysses, which is due back in service this Thursday following annual dry-docking. In the meantime, ropax Epsilon also operates having been accompanied by Oscar Wilde, which made its final sailing on the route this morning with an arrival to Dublin Port.
In less than two months time, W.B. Yeats which was also built to serve between Ireland and France will operate the Dublin-Cherbourg route by entering service in mid-March.
Sailings on the direct Ireland-mainland Europe route is to take place just over a fortnight before the UK is due to leave the EU on the 29 March. With vehicle deck space for 2,800 freight lane metres, W.B. Yeats will be vital asset to ensure direct trade links for hauliers with an alternative of the UK landbridge and in whatever Brexit scenario arises.
As for passenger facilities, among them is the the Maud Gonne Bar & Lounge, Innisfree Club Class Lounge, The Hazel Wood Quiet Lounge and The Abbey & The Peacock Cinema & Lounge.
Accommodation comprises 440 cabins and of the luxury suites they feature a balcony along with a dedicated butler service. This feature will be particularly suited for the longer sea journey between the Irish capital and Normandy.