After more than six years of planning and construction, Stena Line’s newest ferry Stena Estrid started service on the Irish Sea in January 2019.

Operating on the Holyhead to Dublin route, Stena Estrid braved the elements of Storm Brendan to complete her maiden voyage on 9 January, receiving a traditional maritime water cannon salute on arrival at Dublin Port before reloading and making her way back to Wales.

Described as one of the most modern ferries in the world, Stena Estrid will make two daily return trips on the route, with scheduled departures at 0855 and 2030 from Holyhead, and 1450 and 0215 from Dublin.

A crossing time of three hours and 15 minutes is barely enough time for passengers to check out the range of facilities on board, including Estrid’s Sky Bar, two Happy World children’s play areas, a relaxing Hygge reclining lounge, Stena Plus lounge, two movie lounges, bigger Truckers lounge, Taste restaurant, and a bigger better shopping experience.

Ian Davies, Stena Line’s Trade Director (Irish Sea South), said: “This has been a very significant week, not just for Stena Line but for the future of ferry travel on the Irish Sea, as we welcomed Stena Estrid to her new home on the Irish Sea.

“Despite the best efforts of Storm Brendan Stena Estrid was able to fulfil her maiden voyage commitment albeit slightly delayed due to severe weather conditions on the Irish Sea.  I think this demonstrated not only the quality and reliability of the new vessel but also, importantly, the expertise of the Captain and crew on board.

“The introduction of Stena Estrid on the Holyhead to Dublin route is the result of a very significant investment that reflects our commitment to this extremely important region – a commitment that will ultimately see three of the world’s most modern ferries operating between Ireland and Britain.

“I’m proud that Stena Line continues to shape the industry for the next generation of freight and travel customers, for whom we are determined to deliver the best possible service.  Stena Estrid enables us to do this with more efficient loading and unloading operations, increased freight capacity and the best Scandinavian quality, style and design in our facilities -in an onboard environment that is spacious and light, with amazing panoramic views,” he added.

Stena Estrid is the first of three new next generation ferries that will operate on the Irish Sea as part of a multi-million-pound investment by Stena Line in the region.

Sistership Stena Edda is expected to commence operations from Liverpool to Belfast this spring, with a third vessel, Stena Embla, to be introduced on the same route in early 2021.

At 215 metres in length, Stena Estrid is one of the most advanced vessels in operation and larger than today’s standard RoPax vessels, with space to carry 120 cars and 1,000 passengers, and a freight capacity of 3,100 lane meters, meaning a 50 per cent increase in freight tonnage.