Stena Edda, the biggest ferry ever to sail on the Belfast to Liverpool route, embarked on its maiden voyage on Monday evening as it left Merseyside amid a host of celebrations which included a spectacular countdown lightshow.
With 40% more deck capacity, 40% more cabins and 30% more fuel efficiency than current vessels on the route, Edda accommodates up to 1,000 passengers, 120 cars in its dedicated garage deck and 3,100 lane metres of freight.
Redefining ferry travel on the Irish Sea, Edda is more spacious than previous vessels on the route with a Sky Bar and Scandinavian design providing new levels of comfort for both freight and travel guests.
The vessel also offers greater panoramic views as well as digitally enhanced customer experiences.
Despite the 215 metres length of the ferry, the new port infrastructure in Belfast and Birkenhead will deliver easier and faster loading and unloading for all passengers.
Stena Edda is part of an investment of over £200million by Stena Line in three new vessels and port upgrades, involving the company’s partners at Peel Ports and Belfast Harbour. Edda is the first of two new ferries that will offer a choice of daily sailings on the popular Belfast to Liverpool route.
Paul Grant, Chief Commercial Officer, Irish Sea and North Sea at Stena Line said: “As Europe’s largest ferry company, this is a very exciting time for Stena Line.
“The Irish Sea is very important to our company and we are committed to enhancing and developing our services on these routes to continue offering the very best freight and travel experience for customers.
“With vessels which are the most spacious and comfortable ever to sail on the Irish Sea, Stena Line is proud to be shaping the ferry industry for the next generation of freight and travel customers.
“The Liverpool to Belfast route has been growing consistently since Stena Line acquired it almost 10 years ago. In that time, we’ve continued to increase capacity, improve the product and last year was a record-breaking year for freight and travel.
“We have great confidence in the route, and we are determined to continue this growth.”
Stena Edda goes into service having completed an epic four-week voyage from ship builders in the Far East. It has also undergone stringent sea trials and berthing exercises in both Liverpool and Birkenhead.
The multi-million-pound vessel represents over six years planning and construction work, including design development in Sweden to reflect Stena Line’s Swedish heritage.