STENA Line officially launched a new ferry on its Dublin-Holyhead route at Dublin Port today.
Stena Superfast X (pronounced ten) will operate an all year round sailing schedule for Stena Line on its expanding Dublin-Holyhead service, one of the key tourism and freight gateways between Ireland and Britain.
The launch and naming ceremony was performed by Stena Line Chairman Dan Sten Olsson and Irish broadcast personality Kathryn Thomas along with over 170 guests at Dublin Port.
Stena Superfast X first came into service on the route on March 9th and at today’s official launch event, the 30 000 tonne ship with can accommodate up to 1 200 passengers and provides over 2 km of vehicle lane capacity was also officially named by the ship’s Godmother Irish broadcaster Kathryn Thomas.
Dan Sten Olsson, Chairman of Stena Line said: “Trade and tourism links between Britain and Ireland have been growing steadily in recent years and with improving economic conditions forecast for 2015 and beyond, as the leading ferry operator on the Irish Sea we are confident in our ability to help stimulate this upward trend further.
“That’s why we have invested in providing increased capacity on this route with the introduction of Stena Superfast X, a ship which is perfectly appointed to accommodate the mix of freight and tourism traffic which is required to develop the important Dublin-Holyhead gateway in the years ahead.
Mr Olsson added: “The Irish Sea is at the core of Stena Line’s business which is why we have invested more than £250m in our Irish Sea routes during the last 5 years alone.
“Last year we added the Rosslare-Cherbourg service to our route network which has given our customers a key link between Ireland and the Continent.
“Industry reports point to an expected 6% increase in holiday visitors in 2015, building on the 8% increase in 2014. Stena Line recognises the importance of tourism as a key economic driver for the Irish economy.
“We are committed to doing all we can to provide more and more compelling reasons to travel by ferry and what better customer experience is there on the route than the new Stena Superfast X.”
The ship recently underwent a comprehensive refit and upgrade programme in Gdynia (Poland) to prepare her for service on the Dublin-Holyhead route. Stena Superfast X will make two return sailings daily between Dublin and Holyhead and will operate alongside the Stena Adventurer to provide a choice of up 56 Stena Line sailings per week on the route.
Speaking at the event, Eamonn O’Reilly, Chief Executive of Dublin Port said: “Since Stena Line commenced its services from Dublin Port to Holyhead in 1995, it has consistently invested in both the quality of its ships and the frequency of its services. Today’s introduction of the Stena Superfast X is a timely further commitment by Stena Line to the important Dublin-Holyhead route which is responsible for more than one fifth of Dublin Port’s freight volumes and virtually all of our passenger business.”
“Stena Line’s commitment gives us confidence to press ahead with planned major investments in the new infrastructure in Dublin Port that will be needed in the years and decades ahead. Stena Line’s investment in the Stena Superfast X will be matched by our own €200m expansion project which we hope to commence later this year.”
Ian Davies, Stena Line’s Route Manager (Irish Sea South) said: “By consolidating our ‘central corridor’ services into Dublin Port we are providing our customers with an enhanced year round service on some of the most comfortable and reliable ships operating on the Irish Sea. The ship has been specially adapted to provide a range of unique facilities and services for our leisure and freight customers and we are confident that supporting this customer mix will ensure the long term success of the Dublin/Holyhead service.”
“Stena Superfast X offers a comprehensive range of onboard passenger facilities including deluxe cabins, two free cinemas, the luxury Stena Plus lounge, retail shopping in the ‘Outlet’, Met bar and grill, Barista coffee house, family lounge including children’s play area and X Box stations. The timing of the introduction of Stena Superfast X is perfect as we move into the busy Easter and summer periods, helping to take our customer service levels on the route to new heights.”
Stena Superfast X will operate a twice daily return sailing schedule departing Dublin Port 02.15 hrs/15.10 hrs and departing Holyhead 08.55 hrs/20.30 hrs.