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Displaying items by tag: Oscar Wilde

As Afloat previously reported, Irish Ferries has renamed one of its cruise-ferries, James Joyce, as Ireland celebrates this weekend, Bloomsday (16th June), honouring the legacy of the famous writer, reports Jehan Ashmore.

Among Joyce's works are the much-celebrated Ulysses novel (published 1922), set in Dublin on 16 June, 1904 (now known as Bloomsday), A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916), and Finnegan’s Wake (1939).

The 2,080 passenger cruise ferry, James Joyce, boasts the largest capacity of any ferry on the Irish Sea, was previously the Oscar Wilde, which began its charter last year. It is currently on the Rosslare-Pembroke route, having replaced P&O’s chartered ropax Norbay, however, the newly renamed cruise ferry will, according to Irish Ferries, return to Dublin-Holyhead. In addition to serving on the Ireland-France connection of the Dublin-Cherbourg route in tandem with W.B. Yeats.

Bloomsday, celebrated annually on 16 June, is the day that the James Joyce novel Ulysses takes place, marks a commemoration and celebration of his life, and is celebrated globally with readings, performances, and festivals.

The James Joyce was originally launched as the Star of the Tallink Grupp, and appropriately in the context of its newly given name was built by the same shipbuilding group (Aker Finnyards) as the Ulysses, the ship it will partner with when sailing the Dublin-Holyhead route. As Afloat had highlighted, the Star was built at their yard in Helsinki, whereas Ulysses was built a different yard in Rauma, also in the Nordic nation.

When James Joyce returns to Dublin on routes to Wales and France, its replacement on the southern corridor route will be the Isle of Innisfree from the Dover-Calais link. Taking the place of this ferry on the Strait of Dover will be the latest Oscar Wilde, whose name appeared recently on the newly acquired Spirit of Britain, formerly of P&O, which is to return to the UK-France link but in Irish Ferries livery.

This will be the company’s third Oscar Wilde, as the first ship to bear the name which used to link Ireland and France.

Interestingly, when Oscar Wilde makes its Dover-Calais debut, the 'Spirit' class ship built by STX Europe (Rauma), coincidentally the successor of Aker Finnyards, will be competing with its twin, P&O's Spirit of France. In addition to the rivals' ‘Fusion’ class pair, the second of which entered service in March.

The operational changes to the Irish Ferries fleet are all expected to be completed within the month.

Published in Irish Ferries

The parent company of Irish Ferries, the Irish Continental Group, has today reported higher profits for 2023, but this was set back as its revenues dipped against background challenges of high inflation coupled with a slowdown in global trade.

According to the Dublin maritime transport group, its pre-tax profits for the year to the end of December had risen to €63.3 million from €62.5 million in 2022.

As for operating profits, they were driven from their ferry division, which saw a rise of 2.5% to €68.4 million from €66.7 million, which reflects a strong performance by Irish Ferries. 

The ferry brand operates routes on the Irish Sea (Dublin-Holyhead/Rosslare-Pembroke), a direct service to France (Dublin-Cherbourg), and on the Strait of Dover, linking between the UK’s busiest ferryport and Calais.

Among the operator's fleet, is the chartered in Oscar Wilde which has since made its debut on routes to Wales and France, and has also returned to the Rosslare-Pembroke route from where it entered service last year. As in the above photo caption, reports on the cruiseferry which is currently on relief duties for ropax Norbay while in dry dock.

Returning to ICG accounts, where revenues achieved for the year, however, eased by 2.2% to €572 million from €584.9 million.

For more RTE News reports on details of ICG’s financial accounts, which also include divisions involving container operations and related terminals based in Dublin and Belfast.

In addition the coverage refers to the Oscar Wilde, as alluded above and which in 2024 the cruiseferry will operate on the Dublin-Holyhead and Dublin-Cherbourg routes.

Published in Irish Ferries

Oscar Wilde, Irish Ferries chartered-in cruiseferry, is to enter the Dublin-Cherbourg route joining W.B. Yeats, with the debut of the second ship to boost capacity in the year the French capital hosts the Olympic Games, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The Paris Games commence in late July, however in the meantime, Irish Ferries have available to book an early summer getaway for travel to France starting from just €299* return for two including a car and cabin. The offer can be snapped up from this weekend and is valid for travel up to 26th May, for up to 7 nights away.

For further terms and conditions of this offer*, visit the operator’s website, which consulted their sailing schedule which sees Oscar Wilde start service on 16th February with a departure from Dublin to Cherbourg and returning to the Irish capital two days later.

The cruise ferry built in Finland, likewise of Ulysses (fresh from overhaul), will also carry out first Dublin-Holyhead duties in addition to beginning service on the Ireland-France route with weekend sailings supporting W.B. Yeats which operates throughout the year on the Dublin-Cherbourg connection that began in 2014. It was however, P&O Ferries which had first established the direct Ireland-mainland continental route until operations ceased two decades ago.

Features of Oscar Wilde include an à la carte restaurant, a self-service restaurant, a bar, club class lounge, gaming zone and a family-children's play area and also facilities for pets. As for vehicles, there is over 2,380 lane meters for cars, coaches, and freight trucks and an associated drivers' lounge available on the direct route that bypasses the UK, albeit Irish Ferries also have an alternative Dover-Calais link which forms part of the UK land-bridge with their Irish Sea routes including Rosslare-Pembroke.

Last year Oscar Wilde made its maiden entry for Irish Ferries, on the southern Ireland-Wales route having been chartered to parent company, Irish Continental Group (ICG) from the Tallink Grupp. The Tallinn based operator's purpose built Star, originally served on the popular ‘Shuttle’ service connecting the Estonian capital and Helsinki, Finland. As the then to be renamed Oscar Wilde, Irish Ferries announced would 'initially' operate the Irish Sea route of Rosslare-Pembroke for the busy summer period having replaced Blue Star 1.

Currently, the 114 passenger ropax Norbay is time-chartered to Irish Ferries as P&O Ferries confirmed to Afloat, with the ferry on the Rosslare-Pembroke route taken over Oscar Wilde which at the end of last month went to Larne for a scheduled lay-over period and maintenance including a paint spruce up in preparation for its forthcoming French debut.

Also at the Co. Antrim ferryport, Afloat tracked Arrow, where the Isle of Man Steam Packet's relief freighter occupies a berth when not in service as second spare ship Ben-My-Chree is berthed in Douglas.

With Oscar Wilde set to sail next Friday on the Ireland-France route, Irish Ferries for the first time will be able to offer passengers with a more balanced level of enhanced service, given the facilities from two cruise-ferries, as the newcomer replaced the near decade long chartered ropax Epsilon on the route. The freight-orientated vessel had limited passenger facilities when also serving on the Dublin-Holyhead route. 

Taking 2,080 passengers with 131 cabins providing berths for 520 passengers, Oscar Wilde will now be better utilised on the longer Ireland-France overnight passage where the cruiseferry will also have at it disposal if required an impressive speed of 27.5 knots.

There was a previous Oscar Wilde, which also connected Cherbourg albeit with the Irish port for France then based out of Rosslare. After the delayed delivery of newbuild W.B. Yeats in 2019, the 'Oscar' was sold by the operator which also abandoned the Wexford port's routes with France in favour of using Dublin instead given the direct link with the capital as highlighted in the press was deemed by maritime sources to be more profitable.

This winter when W.B. Yeats was dry-docked in H&W Belfast for routine overhaul, Epsilon covered crossings until partnered with the aforementioned Norbay which left P&O using twin ropax Norbank to soldier alone on the Dublin-Liverpool route until its closure in December. It was during this time where adverse weather led to cancellations on the continental route.

Now that the 125 freight trailer unit Norbay is on the Rosslare-Pembroke route and given the vessel's limited passenger facilities, this is reflected on Irish Ferries booking engine which has the ship described as an ‘economy ferry’. The ferry since November, has three months left of a six month charter, though will Irish Ferries extend the option beyond May or seek a more suitable ferry on the southern corridor which deserves to be consistent for customers. 

In addition, due to accessibility restrictions, Norbay does not cater for ‘foot’ passengers, as was the case when running on P&O’s Dublin-Liverpool link, noting Norbank is to continue serving its owner next month by opening a new Tilbury (London)–Rotterdam freight-only route. 

Published in Irish Ferries

Dublin based Irish Ferries, owned by Irish Continental Group (ICG) has reported lower pre-tax profits and flat revenues for the six months of this year reports RTE News.

The results from the half-year report to the end of June, is amid the continued return towards pre-pandemic travel patterns after the disruption caused by Covid-19.

The Irish-based maritime transport group said its half year revenues increased by 0.3% to €264m while its pre-tax profits fell by 9.1% to €16.2m from €17.4m the same time last year.

ICG declared an interim dividend of 4.87 cent per share, this is up from the dividend of last year’s 4.64 cent.

In May, ICG chartered the former Baltic Sea cruise ferry Oscar Wilde for an initial 20 month period and Afloat adds with the option to extend by two, plus two years and purchase. The 2,080 passenger ferry entered service on the Rosslare-Pembroke route having replaced another chartered ferry the Blue Star 1.

The continued normalisation in passenger travel levels after Covid had benefitted the Group in all its markets. This was reflected with growth in its Roll on Roll off (RoRo) freight carryings and the strengthening of its position on the short-sea Dover-Calais route competing with P&O Ferries and DFDS.

ICG said the continued return of ferry passenger travel alongside continued support of its freight customers on both its old and new routes (the UK-France route launched in 2021) resulted in the highest ever revenue levels in the ferries division.

More here on the H1 results for 2023.

Published in Irish Ferries

Irish Ferries celebrated the first day of sailings today of the cruiseferry Oscar Wilde, which is the largest and fastest on the Irish Sea and aims to live up to the famous Oscar Wilde quote “I have the simplest of tastes. I am always satisfied with the best”.

The chartered cruiseferry which was built in Finland, likewise of Ulysses (but at different shipyard), has an impressive capacity of 2,080 passengers, 134 well-appointed cabins, and ample space with over 2,380 lane meters for cars, coaches, and freight vehicles.

Oscar Wilde replaced the Blue Star 1 on the Ireland-Wales route with service starting just in time for the peak summer season (see yesterday's Afloat coverage) of Oscar Wilde which last night took over operating the Rosslare-Pembroke route. The newcomer operates twice-daily sailings, offering an elevated experience connecting Ireland to the UK.

Irish customers can sail directly to Wales, a place of natural drama, with beautiful beaches and mountain walks, rich history, and culture to explore, as well as epic national parks and other adventures, perfect for either short getaways or longer breaks. The route is also a gateway to the rest of Britain with the car – Windsor and Legoland can be reached in under 4 hours - thus avoiding security queues, luggage limits, cramped journeys, and excessive car hire costs.

The Oscar Wilde interiors have a classic, modern feel, while the exterior showcases Irish Ferries’ signature colours and branding.

There are facilities for all with comfortable cabins, a Club Class lounge, plenty of choices for food and beverages including a self-service restaurant, a café, a bar, and a freight drivers lounge.

Passengers can enjoy sea views and fresh air on the open decks, and there are also pet facilities, family-friendly features such as a children's play area, and an extensive shopping space, perfect for using the generous post Brexit duty-free allowances.

With a possible top speed of 27.5 knots, Oscar Wilde is the fastest cruise ferry on the Irish Sea, enabling Irish Ferries to provide tourism and freight customers an efficient and reliable service, getting them to their destination quickly and comfortably.

On the latest addition to Irish Ferries’ fleet, Irish Ferries Managing Director, Andrew Sheen, said, "We are delighted that Oscar Wilde is officially in service, offering customers an enhanced Irish Sea journey on board a ship featuring the very best in terms of comfort, speed, and amenities. We are confident that the Oscar Wilde will become a firm favourite with our passengers and freight customers, and we look forward to welcoming them on board."

Irish Ferries encourages travellers to “Sea Travel Differently” – whether for holidays, business trips, reuniting with loved ones, or planning a road-trip to remember. With award-winning hospitality and service, onboard duty-free shopping, and extensive amenities to make the journey even more special, as well as the ability to take as much luggage as they can fit, bring along their pets, and travel in the comfort of their own car – the holiday really does begin once guests step onboard.

Published in Irish Ferries

Oscar Wilde, Irish Ferries newest addition, freshly repainted in the company’s livery, made its maiden call to Dublin Port yesterday while en route from Belfast to other Irish Sea ports, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The former shuttle ferry the Star that served a Baltic Sea capitals link, had undergone rebranding in dry-dock at Harland & Wolff, following its charter from the Tallink Grupp to the Irish Continental Group (ICG), the parent company of Irish Ferries.

Initially the Oscar Wilde is to serve on Irish Ferries Rosslare-Pembroke route by replacing another chartered ferry, Blue Star 1. The Greek flagged ferry is due in the Irish port this evening before 1900hrs.

Whereas the Oscar Wilde has been tracked by Afloat, having vacated the berth for the inbound Blus Star 1. As for the Oscar Wilde's maiden commercial sailing, it is understood this is to take place possibly tonight or in the next day or so. 

These sailing schedules, follow Afloat's observation of Oscar Wilde when entering Dublin Bay yesterday after an overnight passage from Belfast where also at H&W, the interior facilities had a makeover to match those of the fleet that includes ferries operating Dover-Calais.

Facilities on the Oscar Wilde that have been given the Irish Ferries rebranding treatment include, an a la carte restaurent, a bar, self-service restaurent, club class lounge, gaming zone, pet facilities and a children’s play area.

In addition, the newcomer with a 2,080 passenger capacity with 134 cabins, will have the largest duty-free shop on the Irish Sea.There will also be separate facilities for freight-drivers with use of 2,380 lane meters for freight vehicles as well for coaches and cars.

Once past the Baily Lighthouse on Howth Head, Oscar Wilde headed for the Dublin Bay Buoy yesterday morning at 0900hrs which was  followed by the ferry making a full circle turn before proceeding into the capital port.

Also in the bay was another Irish Ferries fleetmate, the ropax Epsilon which was at anchorage in between sailings that run in tandem with flagship cruiseferry W.B. Yeats on the Dublin-Cherbourg route.

When within the channel fairway, Dublin Port Company tugs Beaufort and Shackleton welcomed the Oscar Wilde with a traditional maritime display as the tug’s gave a water cannon salute over the bow of the ferry.

The call to Dublin Port was to conduct berthing trials at both linkspans of Terminal 1 where Irish Ferries also operate the cruiseferry Ulysses and fastferry Dublin Swift on the Holyhead route.

On completion of trials, which only took a few hours, Oscar Wilde was back in Dublin Bay, this time bound for Holyhead where further trails took place.

As of this morning, Oscar Wilde had arrived in Rosslare, having completed a second overnight passage in the Irish Sea when sailing from the north Wales port. The replacement ferry was preparing in Wexford for its debut on the southern Ireland-Wales route. 

Berthing trails were not necessary in both the Wexford and Pembrokeshire ports as Afloat previously reported, along with those at Cherbourg, as they had occured during the Star’s delivery voyage from Estonia to Ireland.

Published in Irish Ferries

Irish Continental Group (ICG) newly chartered cruiseferry, the Star recently renamed Oscar Wilde for Irish Ferries service, transited the Strait of Dover last night on its delivery voyage from Estonia to Ireland, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The cruiseferry which had operated Tallink Grupp's Tallinn-Helsinki 2-hour shuttle service, is according to Irish Ferries to ‘initially’ operate on the Rosslare-Pembroke route from early June and into the bussier summer months.

Before making its Ireland-Wales debut, berthing trials are to take place at both ports followed by a rebranding into the company's all white livery scheme which is to take place at Harland & Wolff, Belfast. Unlike the first Oscar Wilde that served Irish Ferries on their former Rosslare based routes to France, where this predecessor had sported a dark blue hull.

ICG's charter of Star from Tallink, according to the Baltic state based operator is to start with a 20-month term, with a possible extension period of two plus two years. Also as part of the contract is the option to acquire the 2,080 passenger/134 cabin ferry which has ample vehicle/freight space of 2,380 lane meters.

Oscar Wilde is to replace the current Rosslare-Pembroke ferry Blue Star 1 in June, as then the charter period expires of the Greek flagged vessel which entered service in 2021. This led to releasing Isle of Inishmore to launch Irish Ferries first ever UK-France service on the busy and competitive Dover-Calais route.

So when Oscar Wilde sailed through the Strait of Dover, it was apt as of the three Irish Ferries 'Isles' running on the short-sea UK-France route, the Isle of Inishmore (tracked by Afloat) from Dover was ahead of the bow of Oscar Wilde when making a crossing to Calais. At the same time, Isle of Inishfree was close to the UK port while Isle of Inisheer was berthed at the French port.

Another French port, Cherbourg, is where Oscar Wilde had called this morning, 13 May, and from where the 185m cruiseferry carried out berthing trials at two link-spans. Such an exercise indicates the potential for Irish Ferries to redeploy Oscar Wilde after completion of high season service on the Ireland-Wales route, as long as another ferry can be secured to take over the Wexford-Pembrokeshire link.

As according to NIFerry, it reports of industry information that suggests the Oscar Wilde will replace the chartered ropax Epsilon which operates on the Dublin-Holyhead/Cherbourg rotation. If such speculation becomes reality, this would take place later this year as Irish Ferries is said to be exploring options for a permanent ship on the Rosslare- Pembroke route and based on current timetables, such a change is likely to occur in early November.

Afloat adds by re-deploying Oscar Wilde on the Ireland-France route, Irish Ferries would then be able to offer more of a match than the freight-orientated (ropax) Epsilon, in terms of increased freight and passenger capacity and superior facilities as featured on W.B Yeats. The flagship built in Germany in 2018, but did not enter service until the following year, firstly made its maiden voyage on the Irish Sea before a debut on the continental connection to France.

It is a decade ago when ICG chartered in the then named Cartour Epsilon to open the Dublin-Cherbourg route for Irish Ferries, though the first such service linking the Irish capital and France was established by P&O Ferries albeit for a short timeframe in the early 2000’s.

In 2014 the ropax was renamed Epsilon and has since continously operated the Wales-Ireland-France routes throughout the year along with the cruiseferry flagship, W.B. Yeats. Sailing times on the continental route subject to which ferry, vary between 17 and 19 hours.

Irish Ferries claim the Oscar Wilde has the largest passenger capacity on the Irish Sea and the likewise its duty-free shop which will be a destination for passengers. In addition they describe the ship to have a possible top speed of 27.5 knots, making it the fastest.

Such speed is not a necessity during this delivery voyage of Oscar Wilde in which Afloat has tracked at various stages of the cruiseferry which has been re-flagged and re-registered.

At time of writing, Oscar Wilde is running at 15 knots while in the west bound shipping lane of the English Channel and is due to make its maiden port of call to Ireland tomorrow morning, 14 May.

Published in Irish Ferries

Irish Ferries is pleased to announce the addition of a new cruise ferry to its fleet with the introduction of the ship to be renamed Oscar Wilde.

Originally the cruiseferry called the Star served in the Baltic Sea and was built in 2007 in Finland for the Tallink Grupp, Afloat adds an Estonian shipping company.

The Oscar Wilde will be the largest and fastest passenger cruise ferry on the Irish Sea with an impressive capacity of over 2,080 passengers, 134 cabins, and ample space with over 2,380 lane meters for cars, coaches, and freight vehicles.

With the largest duty-free shopping space for any cruise ferry on the Irish Sea of more than 17,000 square feet, it will be an ideal shopping destination for those travelling between Ireland and Britain.

The ship interiors have a classic, modern feel and boasts Freight Drivers facilities, Club Class lounge, a self-service restaurant, an à la carte restaurant, a bar, gaming facilities, pet facilities and family-friendly features such as a children's play area.

One of the most exciting features of the Oscar Wilde is its available speed. With a possible top speed of 27.5 knots, it is the fastest cruise ferry with the largest passenger capacity on the Irish Sea.

This will enable Irish Ferries to offer tourism passengers and freight an efficient service, getting them to their destination reliably and comfortably.

Commenting on the new addition, Irish Ferries Managing Director, Andrew Sheen, said, "We are delighted to announce the addition of the Oscar Wilde to our fleet. This new ship will be a fantastic addition to our service, offering customers the very best in terms of comfort, speed, and amenities.

Along with usual advantages of ferry travel in terms of no luggage restrictions or security queues, we are confident that the Oscar Wilde will become a firm favourite with our passengers and freight drivers, and we look forward to welcoming them on board."

The Oscar Wilde will initially enter service on the Rosslare-Pembroke route in early June, replacing the chartered Blue Star 1 for the busy summer period.

With its impressive size, speed, and range of facilities, it is set to become the ultimate choice for those travelling between Ireland and the UK on the southern corridor between Wales and Ireland.

Published in Irish Ferries

Following a successful implementation in selected countries, global container line Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC) is now extending its the MSC Carbon Neutral Programme to clients worldwide throughout 2020.

Since early 2019, MSC has partnered with leading global climate solutions provider South Pole to develop the MSC Carbon Neutral Programme, an initiative which it claims “complements MSC’s strategic approach to sustainability and massive investment in reducing emissions across its fleet”.

MSC said it was the first major shipping line in 2019 to offer an option to fully compensate the unavoidable carbon emissions caused by the transport of their cargo through supporting climate protection projects managed by South Pole. MSC highlighted that it recently completed the launch of the largest class of container ships which produce the lowest CO2 emissions per container carried by design – MSC’s Gülsün Class.

For much more LloydsLoadingList reports here. 

In addition to Afloat coverage of a European Commission first, a report on CO2 emissions from maritime transport - that estimates merchant ships added over 138 million tonnes to EU carbon emissions in 2018.

Afloat adds that the landlocked shipping giant based in Switzerland acquired ICG's Oscar Wilde, operated by Irish Ferries on their Rosslare-Cherbourg/ Roscoff (seasonal) routes. The sale of the 1987 cruiseferry involved a bareboat hire purchase agreement with MSC to their ferry subidiary Grandi Navi Veloci (GNV) which renamed GNV Allegra under the Italian flag and operating a Genoa-Olbia (Sardinia) service. 

Irish Ferries had Oscar Wilde operate the Rosslare based routes to France until 2018 however in the following year the introduction albeit late of newbuild W.B.Yeats onto the Dublin-Cherbourg route considerably enhanced the service with the 'cruiseferry''s summer sailings.

This compared to 'economy' based year-round sailings served by Italian flagged ropax Epsilon which recently returned full time on the Dublin-Holyhead route. While WB Yeats concentrates on high-season sailings. 

Published in Ports & Shipping

#ferries - Irish Ferries cruiseferry Oscar Wilde which operated Rosslare based routes to France until last year has according to owners Irish Continental Group to be disposed following an agreement to sell the 1987 built ship to a new owner.

Under the terms of a bareboat hire purchase agreement, ICG has agreed to sell the Oscar Wilde to MSC Mediterranean Shipping Company SA.

The Swiss based group Afloat adds is a major player in the global container market and has divisions involved in cruiseships and ferries serving in the Mediterranean Sea. 

The total gross consideration for the sell of Oscar Wilde is €28.9 million, payable in instalments over 6 years, is to take up to 2025. Delivery to the buyer of the 1,400 passenger/580 car capacity cruiseferry is expected to take place during April 2019.

As for Rosslare Europort based routes to France this season, Irish Ferries have yet to confirm with an update following a decision in December that they were unlikely to operate a service between Rosslare and France in 2019 but added then this situation was under review.

Kronprins Harald was acquired by ICG from Norwegian operator Color Line in 2007 to begin a Irish Ferries career on the French services to Cherbourg and Roscoff. Since Autumn last year, the ship was transferred to Dublin to provide cruiseferry services on the Cherbourg route in advance of the much delayed newbuild W.B. Yeats. This much larger cruiseferry entered service on the direct Dublin-France route almost a month ago. 

The proceeds according to ICG less the net book value of the Oscar Wilde (€7.7 million) and related disposal costs will result in a profit on disposal. It said this will be reported as part of the 2019 financial results of ICG. 

Published in Ferry
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