Irish Ferries launches Irish Sea’s fastest cruise ferry Oscar Wilde

   June 1, 2023 ,   Cruise Industry

The debut of Oscar Wilde cruiseferry - the newest and largest vessel deployed in the Irish Sea, was celebrated by Irish Ferries, which is part of the Irish Continental Group.

Initially constructed as "MS Star" for Tallink Group in Finland, the 2007-built ship was recently acquired by Irish Ferries. It has passenger capacity of 2080 (plus ~100 crew/staff) and operates on the Pembroke-Rosslare (Wales UK-Ireland) route.

Andrew Sheen (Irish Ferries' managing director) said that the company was looking forward to welcoming passengers and freight customers onboard the vessel. 

“We are delighted that Oscar Wilde is officially in service, offering customers an enhanced Irish Sea journey on board a ship featuring the very best in terms of comfort, speed and amenities.” 

With a top speed of 27 knots/50 kph / 31 mph, Oscar Wilde was constructed in the same shipyard as Irish Ferries' Ulysses ferry. MS Oscar Wilde features 134 passenger cabins, 2380 lanemetres for cars, coaches, and freight vehicles, and an expansive 1580 m2 / 17000 ft2 duty-free shopping area.

The ferry derives its name from the renowned Irish poet and playwright, reflecting the company's aspiration to embody his famous quote: "I have the simplest of tastes. I am always satisfied with the best."

Replacing the Blue Star 1 vessel, which had been chartered since 2021, the Oscar Wilde now serves the route between the UK and Ireland in time for the peak summer season. It operates the twice-daily service, enhancing Irish Ferries' offerings.

Irish Ferries' fleet, which includes the Dublin Swift and W.B. Yeats, facilitates ~16 daily sailings, accommodating ~1.5 million passengers and 400,000 cars annually.

The Irish Continental Group acquired Irish Ferries, formerly known as B&I Line, in 1992. Since then, the company has made a substantial investment of EUR 500 million (US$533 million) to modernize its ferry fleet. This investment included the construction of the Ulysses in 2001.

Irish Ferries previously operated a ferry named Oscar Wilde, but it was replaced by the W.B. Yeats in 2019.