Stena Line’s newest ferry Stena Estrid started service on the Holyhead to Dublin route on 13 January 2019, defying the threat of Storm Brendan to make her maiden commercial voyage.
After more than six years of planning and construction, Stena Estrid braved the challenging sea conditions created by Storm Brendan to set sail from the Port of Holyhead at 1055, arriving in Dublin shortly after 1430 where she received a traditional maritime water cannon salute.
Described as one of the most modern ferries in the world, Estrid set sail again from Dublin Port at about 1730 to complete the first-round trip on her new Irish Sea home.
Ian Davies, Stena Line’s Trade Director (Irish Sea South), said: “Today is a very significant day, not just for Stena Line but for the future of ferry travel on the Irish Sea, as we welcome 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.
“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 will enable 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,” he added.
Stena Estrid will make two scheduled daily return trips on the route, leaving Holyhead at 0855 and returning from Dublin at 1450, then after a 2030 departure from Holyhead will return from Dublin at 0215.
A crossing time of three hours and 15 minutes will allow passengers to enjoy a range of facilities on board, including the ship’s Sky Bar, two Happy World children’s play areas, a Hygge reclining lounge, Stena Plus lounge, two movie lounges, bigger Truckers lounge, Taste restaurant, and a bigger shopping experience.
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 215m in length, Stena Estrid is one of the most advanced vessels in operation and larger than today’s standard ro-pax 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.
The name Estrid is connected to Stena Line’s Scandinavian heritage. It is an Old Norse eastern-Nordic version of the name Astrid. Estrid is commonly found on old runestones and means ‘divinely beautiful’.
Stena Line is the largest ferry operator on the Irish Sea, offering the widest choice of routes between Britain and Ireland including Holyhead to Dublin, Fishguard to Rosslare, Cairnryan to Belfast, Liverpool to Belfast, and Heysham to Belfast routes, a total of 232 weekly sailing options.
Stena Line also offers a direct service between Rosslare to Cherbourg with three return crossings a week.
Stena Estrid was built by AVIC Weihai Shipyard Co (Weihai, China) and has a service speed of 22 knots. She measures 215m (705ft) by 28m (92ft) and has a gross tonnage of 41,671, with 3,100 lane metres of deck space and carrying up to 1,000 passengers. She also offers 175 cabins.