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Displaying items by tag: Irish Ferries

3rd February 2014

A Ferry-Tale of Two Isles

#FerryIsles – Two ferries one serving on the Irish Sea, the other running a link to a Scottish island, were until yesterday undergoing refit together at Cammell Laird shiprepair facility in Birkenhead, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Isle of Inishmore (1997/34,031grt) Irish Ferries Rosslare-Pembroke Dock ferry departed Merseyside following her annual maintenance in dry-dock No. 5. She returned to the Pembrokeshire link displacing Oscar Wilde, the French routes cruiseferry which is heading for A&P Falmouth drydock for work to prepare her prior to launching the season later this month.

Meanwhile, Isle of Lewis (1995/6,753grt) Caledonian MacBrayne's Ullapool-Stornoway route ferry is also receiving refit in Birkenhead dry dock No. 6. The Outer Hebrides route vessel is to be replaced by a newbuild which is currently under construction at FGS shipyard in Flensberg, Germany.

Irish Ferries fast-craft Jonathan Swift is also a recent caller to the Wirral Peninsula dockyard having followed flagship Ulysses which had taken her turn for overhaul too.

 

Published in Ferry

#ferries – Irish Ferries has been voted Ireland's Best Ferry Company for the fourth year in succession at the Irish Travel Industry Awards held in Dublin recently.

The award was bestowed on the company by a vote of Irish travel agents and comes in the week when the company launched its new weekend direct return service between Dublin and the French port of Cherbourg.

Providing what the company's head of passenger sales Dermot Merrigan said is 'a third route option that augments the company's existing services from Rosslare to Cherbourg and Roscoff', the new 19-hours service is operated by the ferry vessel Epsilon departing Dublin every Saturday afternoon and arriving Cherbourg the following morning. Sailings return later each Sunday in time to arrive back in Ireland on Monday morning.

Published in Ferry

#FerryFrance – It may only be the first month of 2014, yet two new direct Ireland-France ferry routes are launched. Irish Ferries Dublin-Cherbourg route which opens today and LD Lines Rosslare-St. Nazaire-Gijon (Spain) services which began last weekend, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Irish Ferries new 19-hour route connecting the capital and the continent is served by the 500 passenger ro-pax ferry, Cartour Epsilon.

The same ferry design from the shipyard of Visentini also applies to the Scintu, that launched the LD Lines service. She departed Rosslare yesterday on her second call to the port as the renamed Norman Atlantic, to reflect her Irish-Iberian 'landbridge' route role.

Never before has there been so much choice in services between Ireland and France with five routes served by four operators. This increased level of competition can only be good news for passenger customers and freight hauliers.

In addition to Irish Ferries new route, the ferry firm also operates the cruiseferry, Oscar Wilde on the established routes of Rosslare-Cherbourg, reopening late February and a high-season service to Roscoff.

Rosslare port is also home to Celtic Link Ferries operations on the Cherbourg route served by another Visentini built ro-pax, Celtic Horizon.

Final player on the Ireland-France market, Brittany Ferries run the Cork-Roscoff service which is to resume in mid-March with crossings carried out by flagship Pont-Aven.

 

Published in Ferry

#ferry – This weekend (Saturday, 18th January 2014), Irish Ferries will inaugurate its new direct weekend car ferry service between Dublin and the French port of Cherbourg. As previously reported, the new 19-hours service will be operated by the passenger car and freight ferry vessel Epsilon which the company acquired recently under a charter arrangement. Sailings will depart from the Ferryport terminal in Dublin at 15.30 hrs on Saturday and will arrive in Cherbourg at 11.30hrs on Sunday morning. It will return to Dublin later that day, departing Cherbourg at 17.00hrs arriving back in Ireland on Monday morning.

Third Route Option
The introduction of the new Dublin to Cherbourg service gives holidaymakers travelling into and out of Ireland a third route option, augmenting, as it does, the company's services from Rosslare to Cherbourg and Rosslare to Roscoff. Timed to arrive in Cherbourg early enough to facilitate easy onward travel to campsites and holiday centres throughout France, the new service is expected to prove popular with families and hauliers alike.

On board Epsilon, the once-weekly, year round service will offer a more limited range of cabins and passenger attractions when compared with those on board the company's cruise ferry Oscar Wilde which will continue to service routes from Rosslare to Cherbourg and Roscoff as before.

Bringing access to European motorways into the heart of Dublin city, the new service will extend the appeal of a motoring holiday in France to an even wider market. For those living in the northern half of the country, it eliminates driving to Rosslare and cuts the motoring time and cost involved.

MV Epsilon
Built in 2011, the Epsilon has capacity for 500 passengers. Modest facilities on board include a bar, cafeteria, self-service restaurant, 68 two and four berth cabins all with TV, free wi-fi service and 2,860 lane metres of vehicle deck parking space. Commenting Irish Ferries head of passenger sales, 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 from the Dublin Port Tunnel ensures that our new Ireland – France service will be more accessible to all.'

Fares and offers for this new Dublin to Cherbourg service can be viewed on the Irish Ferries website www.irishferries.com . When not operating on the Dublin to Cherbourg service, Epsilon will sail between Dublin and Holyhead increasing Irish Ferries services on the route to a maximum of twelve sailings each day.

Published in Ferry

#DublinSwift- Ulysses departed Birkenhead fresh from annual maintenance today in readiness to resume a sailing from Holyhead in the early hours of tomorrow to Dublin Port, writes Jehan Ashmore.

During the dry-docking at Cammell Laird shipyard, the operators Rosslare-Pembroke Dock ferry Isle of Inishmore covered the roster of Ulysses in tandem with fast-fast Jonathan Swift.

Incidentally, all of Jonathan Swift's sailings were cancelled today apparently due to adverse weather conditions and these Dublin 'Swift' sailings are expected to operate tommorrow. Although Dublin 'Swift' sailings will not be operating from this Friday, 17 January to 7 February inclusively as the fast-ferry heads off for annual maintenance too.

With Dublin Swift sailings not running during that timeframe, the Dublin –Holyhead route will be maintained by Ulysses and newcomer Cartour Epsilon.

 

 

Published in Ferry

#DublinCherbourg - Irish Ferries ro-pax Cartour Epsilon, returned to Dublin-Holyhead route duties today and this weekend she launches a new direct route from the capital to France, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Starting this Saturday, the once-weekly, year-round Dublin-Cherbourg operated route will connect the capital and the continent when the 500 passenger plus crew capacity car-ferry runs a weekend round-trip service to France in between serving weekday sailings to Wales.

Cartour Epsilon will be offering a low-fares economy-style service distinctly different from that operated by their Rosslare-French routes cruise ferry Oscar Wilde.

The new route sailing schedule will see departures 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).

Irish Ferries new route follows in the wake of another new service also running to France as LD Lines last week launched a 'landbridge' service to Spain from Rosslare to St. Nazaire with an onward connection to Gijón.

As previously reported, Cartour Epsilon had recently served sailings from Rosslare on Irish Ferries established service to Cherbourg during late December / early New Year period. Her absence leaves no ferry servicing the route until late February.

Although with the launch of the new Dublin-Cherbourg route, Irish Ferries will be able to maintain a service to France.

Following current duties on the Rosslare-Pembroke Dock route, Oscar Wilde is to take her turn of annual dry-docking in advance of resuming Rosslare-Cherbourg service next month as mentioned above.

 

Published in Ferry

#EnterEpsilon – Irish Ferries chartered ro-pax ferry Cartour Epsilon completed her commercial maiden voyage this morning, sailing between Holyhead and Dublin Port, writes Jehan Ashmore.

As previously reported, the delays of the Italian flagged ferry on entering Irish Sea service were due to 'operational reasons'.

Epsilon built in 2011, the 500 passenger and crew ferry brings an increase in capacity to cater for the seasonal boost in traffic as thousands of passengers return home for Christmas.

The 26,375 tonnes ro-pax offers two sailings in each direction each day, increasing to a maximum of 12 sailings daily, though currently high-speed craft sailings operated by Jonathan Swift are cancelled today due to the adverse weather conditions.

These Dublin Swift sailings operated by the fast-ferry are also cancelled for tomorrow. Alternative arrangements to transfer Jonathan Swift 'foot' passengers and motorists customers on different ships and information on sailing updates see this link.

Epsilon provides economy-style facilities featuring 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.

In addition to serving sailings to Wales, the 24-knot Epsilon will also launch a second route based from Dublin Port to Cherbourg on a year-round weekend-only service starting on 18 January 2014

 

Published in Ferry

#Epsilon – Irish Ferries cite fleet dry-docking and 'operational reasons' for the delays in introducing 'Epsilon' which is to boost additional peak capacity over the Christmas season, writes Jehan Ashmore.

As previously reported, Epsilon was to have made her debut this week on the core Dublin-Holyhead route, bringing thousands of seasonal passengers home and overseas visitors to our shores.

Epsilon is not expected to start operationg until next week (Tuesday 17 Dec.) with the 01.55 sailing departing from Ireland. She will provide additional sailings by operating two-round trips daily, which increases to a maximum of 12 sailings daily on the Dublin-Holyhead route.

The 26,375 tonnes ro-pax with space for around 500 passengers will join fleetmates, Ulysses and fastcraft Jonathan Swift and together the trio will provide a maximum of 12 sailings each day.

Epsilon's entry as third route ship will extend beyond New Year sailings too as the 186m long vessel is on charter for the next three years. During this timefrane she will also operate Dublin-Cherbourg route service starting 18 January.

 

Published in Ferry

#EpsilonArrives– Epsilon's first visit to Dublin Port last night completes the end of her repositioning voyage from Sicily last week, which included a call via Gibraltar, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The three-year charter of Epsilon to Irish Ferries is expected to see the 500 passenger ro-pax introduced as the third vessel on the Dublin-Holyhead in the run-up to the busy Christmas season.

Epsilon is to provide two additional departures daily in each direction which will increase sailings to a maximum of twelve serving the core Irish Sea route.

The 2011 built Epsilon which docked this morning at Ocean Pier, a temporary berth, is set to join the routes flagship cruiseferry Ulysses and fastcraft Jonathan Swift. Unlike her fleetmates, Epsilon will not however be catering for 'foot' passengers on any of her sailings.

In addition to the Epsilon sailing on the Irish Sea, the 26,325 tonnes ferry is to launch in the New Year, a new direct service to France between Dublin-Cherbourg starting on 18 January 2014.

The year-round operated continental route will be served only at weekends, when a round-trip sailing schedule will provide a link between the Irish capital and Normandy.

Published in Ferry

#NewFerry – Irish Ferries chartered ro-pax Epsilon called to Rosslare Europort from Cherbourg this morning, her arrival to Irish waters follows a repositioning voyage starting almost a week ago from Sicily, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Under the command of Captain Paul Sellers, Epsilon approached the Wexford ferryport from where Irish Ferries Pembroke Dock bound Isle of Inishmore vacated her berth for the newcomer.

Ironically at the adjacent berth to where Cartour Epsilon (2011/26,325grt) berthed was Celtic Horizon (2006/27,522grt) of Celtic Link Ferries which in 2011 entered service on their service to Cherbourg. She is a sister and former fleetmate which as Cartour Beta also served Italian operator Charonte & Tourist.

Epsilon's call to the Wexford port was likewise to Cherbourg to carry out berthing trails when Irish Ferries requires relief cover on southern services.

She is due to make the final leg of her journey to Dublin Port to where the ro-pax ferry is to enter service on the Holyhead route this week and in the New Year launch a new Dublin Port-Cherbourg route.

Also berthed in Rosslare Harbour was Stena Europe, the Fishguard route ferry which was fresh from annual maintenance following dry-docking in Birkenhead.

 

Published in Ferry
Page 9 of 17

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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