A new Irish Ferries cruise ferry was named the W.B. Yeats at a launch event in Germany on Friday, January 19.
The launch event took place at the shipyard of Flensburger Schiffbau–Gesellschaft in Flensburg, Germany where the ferry is currently being built.
The name W.B. Yeats was chosen by the public in an online competition. There were nearly 100,000 entries but the name of the legendary Irish poet was the winner.
The cruise ferry is worth €150 million and weighs 54,985 gross tonnes. It will arrive in Dublin next July.
Then it will enter year-round service on Irish Ferries’ Ireland to France and Dublin to Holyhead routes.
The W.B. Yeats is nearing completion. Over the next several months, remaining construction work on the hull will be completed and it will be outfitted with the required technical, operational, décor, furnishings, and passenger amenities.
Finally, it will undergo sea trials, crew training, and docking procedures at the Irish, UK, and French ports it will be operating out of.
According to Irish Ferries, the W.B. Yeats is “set to be the largest and most luxurious ferry ever to sail on the Irish Sea.” It will have space for 1,885 passengers and crew.
There will also be 435 cabins including luxury suites with private balconies and almost 3km of car deck space.
Irish Ferries managing director, Andrew Sheen said in a statement: “The launch of our new cruise ferry W.B. Yeats – and the expectation of our second new cruise ferry yet to come – herald in a new era in ferry travel between Ireland, UK, and Continental Europe bringing with it new standards in terms of passenger and freight capacity, comfort and reliability beyond anything previously envisaged.”
The second vessel of which Mr. Sheen speaks was commissioned a few weeks ago by Irish Continental Group plc, Irish Ferries parent company.
It will also be built in the Flensburg shipyard and is meant to be even larger than the W.B. Yeats. The contract price is €165.2 million and delivery is scheduled for 2020.
The new vessel will also serve on the Dublin to Holyhead route. It is envisioned to be the largest cruise ferry in the world in terms of vehicle capacity and will have accommodations for 1,800 passengers and crew.
Its vehicle decks will have 5,610 freight lane metres and the capability to carry 330 freight units per sailing.
This represents a 50% increase in capacity compared to the current record-holder vessel Ulysses.