The new vessel, to be built by Germany’s Flensburger Schiffbau-Gesselschaft & Co.KG (FSG), will be the world’s largest cruise ferry by vehicle capacity and it is due to be in service by mid-2020.
The company highlighted that the new ferry will provide a significant increase in both its freight & tourism carrying capacity on the fast-growing Dublin-Holyhead route.
It will be able to carry some 1,800 passengers and crew, and will have 5,610 freight line metres – meaning it will be able to carry 330 freight units, which represents a 50% increase from the MV Ulysses vessel which the new ferry effectively replaces.
Ulysses will remain on the Dublin-Holyhead route, taking the place of the smaller chartered Epsilon vessel.
Irish Ferries is due to deploy the new W.B. Yates cruise ferry in mid-2018 for the Dublin-Holyhead route, though it will move over full time to the direct Ireland-France routes once the latest vessel comes online in 2020.
"This investment underpins the confidence the Group has in the markets in which we operate. Alongside the recent investment in the MV W.B. Yeats, it brings our total investment to €315mln for these two vessels designed for our operations on the Irish Sea,” said Eamonn Rothwell, Irish Continental chief executive.
“The construction of a cruise ferry of this size will offer both additional capacity and an enhanced experience for both our tourism and freight customers.
“This infrastructural investment enhances ‘the bridge’ to the UK & Continental Europe that is a vital part of the continued success of Ireland's open economy."