The W.B. Yeats, Irish Ferries’ new cruise ferry which comes into service this summer, reached a key milestone today (Friday 19 January), when the ship was formally named in traditional style, and the completed hull launched into the water.
The ship’s name, W.B. Yeats, was chosen following a competition which attracted almost 100,000 entries.
John McGuckian (chairman), Eamonn Rothwell (chief executive), David Ledwidge (chief financial officer) from parent company Irish Continental Group plc, and Andrew Sheen (Irish Ferries’ managing director) were among those present at the slip launch of the 54,985 tonne vessel at the German shipyard of Flensburger Schiffbau-Gessellschaft mbH & Co KG.
The cruise ferry, which will start sailing between Ireland and France this summer, and subsequently serve on the Holyhead/Dublin route, was formally ‘christened’ in a traditional ceremony in which a bottle of champagne was smashed against the hull.
“Seeing W.B. Yeats taking shape like this, and already painted up in Irish Ferries livery, is very exciting,” says Andrew Sheen. “The design and build of this vessel really does herald a new era in ferry travel to and from Ireland.”
The €150 million cruise ferry, which will have capacity for up to 1,885 passengers and crew, will be completed over the coming weeks with the addition of impressive facilities such as restaurants, lounges and 435 cabins, including balcony suites. Delivery is scheduled for June.
Earlier this month, Irish Ferries confirmed an order for a second new cruise ferry with the same shipyard. It will be delivered in 2020.