Plans to launch 9 new passenger ferries on the UK and Ireland routes show the cruise industry is continuing to flourish. Brittany Ferries, Stena Line and Irish Ferries are among the operators expected to expand their fleets.
In 2017, over 38 million passengers used ferry boats on UK-domestic, Irish and continental services, according to industry data. The new vessels include RO-PAX ships (ferries for vehicles and passengers), as well as the biggest catamaran homeported in London UK.
The state-of-the-art cruiseferry Honfleur (Brittany Ferries) is scheduled to enter service on the Portsmouth-Caen route in July 2019. It has been designed to offer a smoother ride due to reduced vibrations and having free wifi.
A trio of new cruiseferries is now being built for Stena Line, with the first scheduled to start operating the Dublin-Holyhead route in 2020-Q1. According to STENA, they will be among the world's most energy efficient ferries.
DFDS Seaways is due to introduce its biggest ferry on the English Channel in 2021 while MBNA Thames Clippers plans to launch its largest-ever catamaran (Venus Clipper) by the end of March 2019. The ship will be able to accommodate 222 passengers with 50 more seats than ships introduced in summer 2017.