Irish Ferries has ordered a second new cruise ferry, which will start sailing between the UK and Ireland in 2020.
The cruise ferry will be built in Germany at a cost of €165 million.
The same shipyard is already building Irish Ferries’ new ship, the W.B. Yeats, which is due for delivery this summer.
When built, the new ship will be the largest cruise ferry in the world in terms of vehicle capacity, offering space for up to 1,500 cars, or up to 330 freight trucks.
It is expected to weigh in at approximately 67,300 tonnes.
The cruise ferry will be designed specifically to sail between Holyhead and Dublin, in tandem with Irish Ferries’ current flagship Ulysses, which will replace the chartered ferry Epsilon (operating in the fleet since 2013).
The new cruise ferry will be built to the highest standards of cruise shipping, and equipped with systems to meet current and known future environmental regulations, delivering optimal fuel consumption.
A unique design feature will be three tier bow loading capability for freight vehicles, to maximise efficient loading/unloading and minimise turnarounds.
Fantastic passenger facilities will include a choice of bars, restaurants (both à la carte and self-service options), Club Class lounge, state-of-the-art entertainment options and cinemas, more than 150 cabins, and retail outlets.
The additional capacity of the new ship on the Holyhead/Dublin route will, by 2020, will allow the W.B. Yeats to sail between Ireland and France year-round.
Eamonn Rothwell, chief executive for Irish Continental Group (the owners of Irish Ferries) said: “This investment underpins the confidence we have in the markets in which we operate.
“Alongside the recent investment in W.B. Yeats, it brings our total investment to €315 million for these two vessels.
“The construction of a cruise ferry of this size offers both additional capacity and an enhanced experience for both our tourism and freight customers.”