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Irish Ferries Announce Newbuild for UK/Ireland/France

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2 hours ago, TonyMWeaver said:

Docked alongside in Pembroke Docks, 'WB Yeats' is now heading for Dunkirk.

Image from Shaun Kearney

 

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Which confirms the info I had that she would be replacing the Isle of Inishmore during her refit period!

Chris

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4 hours ago, Fine Whine said:

Which confirms the info I had that she would be replacing the Isle of Inishmore during her refit period!

Chris

You been on her yet Chris? Any opinions?

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49 minutes ago, neilcvx said:

You been on her yet Chris? Any opinions?

Do you mean WB Yeats Neil?

I think my views about her are fairly well known although you only need to look at the likes of Google and Tripadvisor to see how much she's been slated.

Yes I've travelled on her once from Holyhead to Dublin back in January (when my worst fears were confirmed) and I've done 3 round trips from Cherbourg  hosting wine tastings on the return legs out of Ireland. I've been doing these for over 15 years, they're an absolute blast, and if you can imagine over 400 thirsty and enthusiastic Irish getting stuck into a free tasting over a 4 hour period then you don't need to be a rocket scientist to work out what happens - it works though ....;)

As for the ship itself, she's large, very corporate, with every shade of grey imagineable and nothing like the Oscar Wilde. Cabins are fine, there's only one public bar (Oscar Wilde had 3), self-service option is too small and nowhere near as good as BF, the fine dining experience has gone from 37.95€ to 60€, let's just say most customers find this just a tad overpriced.

Early season sailings were hijacked by between 15 and 20 coaches of school kids per crossing, so swarms of locusts in the restaurant is a pretty accurate description, no entertainment planned initially but eventually brought in for the high season, staff morale not good, then further reduced just when they were needed during the busy months because they had oversold cabins....

Having said all that she has the DNA to become a half decent vessel, but the powers that be in Dublin have to address these issues very quickly; we are seeing a noticeable increase in Roscoff of customers preferring to use BF as they feel so strongly about the new ship and overall experience. The reason I still love travelling with BF is the strong French (Breton) identity on all regular vessels and staff are in my view brilliant. The Yeats has no soul at the moment, but that can be addressed with a bit of flair, vision and actually admitting they've got her wrong.

The Oscar Wilde was a lovely vessel full of warmth and charm and there was always a corner you could disappear to in relative quiet with a pint of cold Guinness for company. Her successor just doesn't have this (yet), and I'm not the only one hoping for an injection of character in the not too distant future.

Chris

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Wanting to add to Fine Whine's comments above but not wishing to take up space by quoting him. 
Another reason Irish folk are favouring the Roscoff route is that many of them holiday on France's west coast and Roscoff is so convenient. 

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2 hours ago, BigDW1946 said:

Another reason Irish folk are favouring the Roscoff route is that many of them holiday on France's west coast and Roscoff is so convenient. 

And in that comment Dave (I'm assuming this is you DaveW1946 on the IFE forums...9_9) lies the dilemma that faced Irish Ferries  

Unless I'm wrong, and I'm sure @hhvferry will vouch for this, the DNA of almost every ferry company is freight as it works for them 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year, unlike tourist traffic embarking on a once or maybe twice yearly jolly to France, Spain or wherever. Roscoff is essentially a holiday port and the Oscar Wilde was usually rammed with cars from early June until the first few days of September, outside that period it was a struggle to fill space. The advantage of WB Yeats is she can carry up to 120 freight units as well as a full tourist load, so the company can now offer guaranteed freight space throughout the year and where are those lorries heading? Mostly in an Easterly direction to Belgium, Germany and beyond, which is why Cherbourg was always the obvious choice but upset a lot of people (me included!).

I firmly believe they had every intention of running Oscar Wilde on a seasonal basis but the offer of almost 29M€ from MSC generating 14.9M€ in profit was an offer they couldn't refuse so we are where we are.

And out of interest Dave, most Irish heading on holiday tend to head for St Jean-de Monts in the Vendée and therefore pass through Nantes. The perception is that Roscoff is much closer but I've just checked out on Via Michelin Roscoff to Nantes, 314km and 3H35 minutes, Cherbourg to Nantes 326km and 3H46, interesting eh?!!

Chris

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I wonder how Roscoff will be affected in the long term by Irish Ferries decision on Cherbourg, it certainly seemed busy enough when we were there in August and September.  

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3 minutes ago, neilcvx said:

I wonder how Roscoff will be affected in the long term by Irish Ferries decision on Cherbourg, it certainly seemed busy enough when we were there in August and September.  

Well Chris had to move half his business to Cherbourg, so if it affected others in the same way....  Hope you don't mind me mentioning your business Chris.

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5 minutes ago, Solo said:

Well Chris had to move half his business to Cherbourg, so if it affected others in the same way....  Hope you don't mind me mentioning your business Chris.

I did visit the said business in Roscoff it still seemed fairly busy.

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17 minutes ago, Solo said:

Well Chris had to move half his business to Cherbourg, so if it affected others in the same way....  Hope you don't mind me mentioning your business Chris.

No problem Solo as you haven't mentioned the name, just as I never do on here....:D

Thankfully Roscoff figures have held up reasonably well as many more Irish are now using the Cork-Roscoff route and the Tuesday Connemara run is proving to be popular - Irish Ferries better watch out once the Visentinis are replaced by a more comfortable and newer vessel. There is also a flourishing local trade plus French/European tourists during the summer months, all  completely unaffected by the B%!XIT shenanigans.

Cherbourg is starting to bubble but it's still a 3 year project to get where we want to be...

Chris

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3 minutes ago, Fine Whine said:

Any idea what the stop in Rotterdam is all about Tony? - interesting!

Chris

No idea Chris, it's on the schedule as her destination.

Capture.JPG

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Great photos Julien and thanks for posting. You'll notice the balcony on the bow in picture 1, above and to the left of the port side navigation light. This belongs to one of the 2 Premium Suites at 799€ per crossing - I wouldn't want to be poking my head out to see Lands End as I sailed past!

Chris

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27 minutes ago, Fine Whine said:

This belongs to one of the 2 Premium Suites at 799€ per crossing - I wouldn't want to be poking my head out to see Lands End as I sailed past!

If I was paying that much I'd want a cabin a lot further aft than right over the bow.

Am I the only one that thinks it's an ugly looking ship, especially the bow.

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43 minutes ago, Fine Whine said:

Great photos Julien and thanks for posting. You'll notice the balcony on the bow in picture 1, above and to the left of the port side navigation light. This belongs to one of the 2 Premium Suites at 799€ per crossing - I wouldn't want to be poking my head out to see Lands End as I sailed past!

Chris

Thank you and with pleasure :)

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Seems a bit strange seeing WBY going for a dry docking already - doesn’t feel like she has been around long enough for one to become due!

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20 minutes ago, Gareth said:

Seems a bit strange seeing WBY going for a dry docking already - doesn’t feel like she has been around long enough for one to become due!

Guaranteed dry-docking, normal for any new ship after 1 year. 'Victoria of Wight' did it in too, so will 'Honfleur'.

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2 hours ago, Fine Whine said:

Great photos Julien and thanks for posting. You'll notice the balcony on the bow in picture 1, above and to the left of the port side navigation light. This belongs to one of the 2 Premium Suites at 799€ per crossing - I wouldn't want to be poking my head out to see Lands End as I sailed past!

Chris

We got given a look in those balcony cabins on a choppy crossing in February when she was on the Holyhead run. The furniture that is supposed to live on the balcony was stored inside to protect it from the elements. In the cabin, the sound of the wind rattling through the patio style doors was surprising. Outside, if you stood in the corner of the balcony it was tolerable but much else and you were receiving the full force of the wind whipping round. Unless they've made modifications (not sure what apart from chang the doors for something more substantial) in those sort of conditions the setup didn't seem optimal.

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25 minutes ago, TonyMWeaver said:

Guaranteed dry-docking, normal for any new ship after 1 year. 'Victoria of Wight' did it in too, so will 'Honfleur'.

Indeed.  Just doesn't feel like a year.  (But maybe that's just a reflection of how fast time flies these days).

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The shipping schedule has changed again, now saying that 'W.B. Yeats' is leaving Dunkirk on Thursday at 18:00 bound for Cherbourg, not Rotterdam as previously printed. 'W.B. Yeats' will re-enter service from Cherbourg.

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