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A Look Inside: Blue Star 1 (with Deck Plans) | Irish Ferries

Blue Star 1 (ΜΠΛΟΥ ΣΤΑΡ 1) Fast Facts

Current Name: Blue Star 1 (ΜΠΛΟΥ ΣΤΑΡ 1)Previous Names: N/A
Shipyard: Van der Giessen de Noord [NL], #979, 976IMO Number: 9197105
Current Operator: Irish FerriesCurrent Route: Rosslare [IE] - Pembroke Dock
Length Overall: 171.4 mBeam: 26.2 m
Passenger Capacity: 1,890 (for Blue Star Ferries) / 1,500 (for Irish Ferries)Vehicle Capacity: Approx. 1,745 lane metres of freight (4.9m free height) or 780 cars
Tonnage: 29,858 gtSister-ships: BLUE STAR 2

Irish Ferries’ Blue Star 1 – Passenger Facilities and Layout

During April 2021, Irish Ferries introduced Attica Group’s BLUE STAR 1 to its Rosslare – Pembroke Dock service. The arrival of the ship allowed ISLE OF INISHMORE to be released from the route ahead of her introduction on Irish company’s new Dover – Calais service.

BLUE STAR 1 is chartered from Attica Group for an initial one year period with an option for an additional year which appears to have been taken. The ship was purpose-built for Attica’s Blue Star Ferries subsidiary, though the order was originally placed by predecessor company Strintzis Lines. She was designed to operate “fast” services in the Mediterranean, and has a large passenger capacity of up to 1,890.

BLUE STAR 1 approaching Rosslare 26 May 2021. Image: Gordon Hislip.
BLUE STAR 1 approaching Rosslare 26 May 2021. Image: Gordon Hislip.

Although capable of a service speed of 27 knots, BLUE STAR 1 sails at a more leisurely pace in Irish Ferries service. The benefits of increased speed are much less on the short crossing between Ireland and Wales than on the longer routes BLUE STAR 1 was designed for.

Irish Ferries BLUE STAR 1 promotional video

During October 2021, NIFS took the opportunity to sample BLUE STAR 1 in service between Pembroke Dock and Rosslare. The majority of the following photos and description of the ferry are based on that trip, but where indicated have been supplemented with stock images from Attica Group.

Attica Group BLUE STAR 1 promotional video

BLUE STAR 1‘s interior was designed for the Mediterranean market by Apostolos Molindris & Associates (AM&A), now Molindris+Associates. Consequently, much of the artwork onboard reflects this, as does the seat-heavy interior layout.

In terms of interior design, BLUE STAR 1 has some similarities to the Superfast series of vessels. This is no coincidence, as Superfast and Blue Star were part of the same group.

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Originally the interior design for the Blue Star vessels was to have been by Claus P. Horn 1 who is known for a number of ferry projects and had previously worked with the yard and clients such as Irish Ferries and Stena Line. This was part of the original package agreed between Strintzis Lines, who placed the original order, and the shipyard.

Seating in Café Lafayette, BLUE STAR 1. Image: © Steven Tarbox.
Seating in Café Lafayette, BLUE STAR 1. Image: © Steven Tarbox.

Attica appointed AM&A to takeover the design of the interior spaces of BLUE STAR 1 at a late stage with the brief to achieve a uniform look across the new Superfast and Blue Star vessels. These revised plans were signed off just one month before the vessel was launched.

In fact, the interior of the Blue Star vessels was designed while the designers were also working on SUPERFAST V – X, and SUPERFAST V was used as the reference vessel for the project 2.

Further information about the history and technical data of BLUE STAR 1 can be found on her dedicated profile here.

Side profile of BLUE STAR 1. Irish Ferries.
Side profile of BLUE STAR 1. Irish Ferries.
BLUE STAR 1 deck arrangement side view. Image: Blue Star Ferries.
BLUE STAR 1 deck arrangement side view. Please note that some facilities are not available in Irish Ferries service, while others (such as the yacht club) have been repurposed. See the following deck by deck breakdown for further details. Image: Blue Star Ferries.

Blue Star 1 – Deck 7 Deck Plan and Facilities

Irish Ferries BLUE STAR 1 Deck Plan. Image: Irish Ferries (scan)
Irish Ferries BLUE STAR 1 Deck Plan. Image: Irish Ferries (scan)

Deck 7 is the main public deck onboard BLUE STAR 1. Facilities include:

Food and Drink Onboard Blue Star 1

Bar and Lounge

The public bar is located forward, overlooking the bow of the ship, and doubles as an observation lounge This is a large space which has an additional lounge attached on the port side. As-built these were the first-class lounge and first-class restaurant.

However, the additional lounge was closed off during our crossing. In Blue Star Ferries service, this lounge was actually an à la Carte restaurant.

Cafe Lafayette and Boylans Brasserie

Behind the bar and lounge is Boylans Brasserie to port and Cafe Lafayette to starboard. The former is only accessible through the later as the galley is situated between Boylans and the lounge forward.

Looking towards the servery from the rear of Boylans Brasserie, BLUE STAR 1. Image: © Steven Tarbox.
Looking towards the servery from the rear of Boylans Brasserie, BLUE STAR 1. Image: © Steven Tarbox.

Boylans is the only restaurant onboard in Irish Ferries service, and offers the usual range of prepared food which is served over the counter. It was noted during our crossing that hot food for Club Class guests was being collected from Boylans by the crew.

In common with other vessels in the Irish Ferries fleet, Cafe Lafayette serves a range of drinks and snacks and offers a full bar facility.

Seating in Café Lafayette, BLUE STAR 1. Image: © Steven Tarbox.
Seating in Café Lafayette, BLUE STAR 1. Image: © Steven Tarbox.

It has its own counter which is similar in style to those found in the bar on the Visentini series of ships.

The Conference Room / TV Room / Cinema

Although officially a conference area and TV room / cinema, in Greek service the most common use for this space at night would have been for people to use the reclining seats to sleep in. The area has 90 comfortable reclining seats with integrated cupholders, which hint at its use as a cinema.

Official image of the conference room / air seat lounge on BLUE STAR 1 / 2. Image: Molindris+Assosciates.
Official image of the conference room / air seat lounge on BLUE STAR 1 / 2. Image: Molindris+Assosciates.

Conveniently for those wishing to spend the night here, luggage storage space is provided on shelving at the front. This area also has direct access to port-side outside deck to the rear.

Duty-Free Shop

A small duty-free shop is located midships just off the starboard walkway. Although much smaller than the equivalent facility on direct competitor STENA EUROPE, and obviously intended more as a gift shop than a duty free supermarket, a decent range of both duty free items and gifts was found to be available on our trip. Irish Ferries also offers its online ordering and collect onboard service on BLUE STAR 1. As with other Irish Ferries ships, BLUE STAR 1‘s shop is an Aelia concession.

A second duty free shop was opened following our October 2021 crossing in what was previously a small lounge area. Photos are available later in this article here. This second shop has a larger volume of product, including crates of beer and cases of wine, than the original shop. The other shop remains largely unchanged since our visit and continues to sell duty free items as well as cosmetics and gifts.

Reception Desk and Lounge

The reception desk is located next to the duty-free shop and has its small number of seats opposite, known as the reception lounge.

Children’s Play Area

The Vodafone-sponsored children’s play area is located on the port-side of the vessel, just off the main walkway. Unfortunately, due to Covid-19 this area was closed during our trip, and had been cleared of anything that might be of interest to children.

Reclining / Air Seat Lounge

Another area of reclining seats is located behind the children’s play area. On the Greek deck plan this is marked as air seats and again would have been used at night time as a sleeping area. TV’s are suspended from the deck head (ceiling).

Welcome Lounge (now partially converted to a duty free shop)

This area is unmarked on the Irish Ferries deck plan and is another seating area. It is situated just forward of the Club Class lounge where foot passengers would have arrived on the main deck when using the escalator from the shore side ramp.

The central section of this area has now been converted into an additional duty free shopping area.

Club Class

When the ship was in Blue Star Ferries service, this area was known as the Blue Note Yacht Club and was the main bar and evening entertainment area on the ship. In Irish Ferries service, the doors can only be opened with a code which is given to those who have opted to upgrade to Club Class.

A large painting of a sailing boat on a map of the Cyclades dominates the bulkhead on the port side of Club Class on Irish Ferries BLUE STAR 1. Image: © Steven Tarbox.
A large painting of a sailing boat on a map of the Cyclades dominates the bulkhead on the port side of Club Class on Irish Ferries BLUE STAR 1. Image: © Steven Tarbox.

The area remains very recognisable from its as-built form when it was the Bella Blu Yacht Club, with the main changes being seats where the dance floor used to be and beverage dispensing machines and fridges placed on top of the bar counter. Complimentary chilled food plates are available and served by the crew member behind the former bar. Passengers are also free to help themselves to complimentary wine and non-alcoholic hot and cold beverages.

Hot food is available to order for an additional charge and is brought directly to your table from the galley at the other end of the ship beside Boylans Brasserie.

People who have travelled on Stena Line’s STENA SUPERFAST VII and STENA SUPERFAST VIII may recognise design features in this space, such as the type of seating used, shape of the bar counter, and the large circular ceiling features.

Blue Star 1 – Deck 8 Deck Plan and Facilities

BLUE STAR 1 Deck 8 layout plan. Image: Blue Star Ferries.
BLUE STAR 1 Deck 8 layout plan. Image: Blue Star Ferries.

The Atrium Bar

In Irish Ferries service, the only passenger facilities available on BLUE STAR 1‘s Deck 8 are cabins. The large atrium bar, which was originally a semi-enclosed open air swimming pool, is closed to passenger access. In mediterranean service this is marketed as an open deck FLOCAFE branded bar, despite being entirely covered. The outside deck overlooking the stern, which is accessed through the atrium bar, is also closed to passengers. However, on our trip we were able to access these areas which look as follows:

Please note that this area is out of use and photos are only included here only for those curious as to what the space looks like.

Blue Star 1 Cabins

An overview of the locations of passenger cabins onboard BLUE STAR 1. The vast majority of cabins are located on deck 8, but a number are on deck 9 beside the crew accommodation. Image: Steven Tarbox (edited photo).
An overview of the locations of passenger cabins onboard BLUE STAR 1. The vast majority of cabins are located on deck 8, but a number are on deck 9 beside the crew accommodation. Image: Steven Tarbox (edited photo).

BLUE STAR 1 was was built with just 161 cabins providing 430 berths, all of which are located on Deck 8. This is a rather low number of berths for a high capacity overnight ferry by Northern European standards, but reflects different trends in Mediterranean waters where travellers are often content to sleep in a chair (for example, the recliners in the conference room) or camp onboard in their own camper vans. For this reason, public toilet facilities are provided on the upper vehicle deck.

The low berth count also reflects the fact that the ships were originally designed for just the Brindisi – Patras route (approx. 9 hours). The addition of Ancona to the itinerary increased the total crossing time to around 21 hours. During January 2007, ahead of BLUE STAR 1‘s introduction on the Zeebrugge – Rosyth route, 16 additional cabins were added to deck 9. Coupled with also reallocating some crew cabins on deck 9, this allowed the official passenger cabin quota to be raised to 192. It appears, however, that the passenger cabins on deck 9 are out of use in Irish Ferries service.

Stock image of a suite onboard BLUE STAR 1. Image: Attica Group.
Stock image of a suite onboard BLUE STAR 1. Image: Attica Group.

Passengers are able to book either two berth or four berth cabins on BLUE STAR 1. Both types can be booked with or without windows. Deluxe and suite cabins are also available. These are located forward on deck 8, are more spacious, but only accommodate two people. Tea and coffee making facilities are provided in both deluxe cabins and suites, as is a fridge and a TV. Disabled passengers can book a specially adapted disabled cabin which is located close to the lift on deck 8. All cabin types are air conditioned and have en suite facilities.

A touch of Greece on the Southern Corridor

One of the pieces of artwork onboard BLUE STAR 1, depicting a sailing boat and a map of some of the Cyclades islands. Image © Steven Tarbox.
One of the pieces of artwork onboard BLUE STAR 1, depicting a sailing boat and a map of some of the Cyclades islands. Image © Steven Tarbox.

Although Irish Ferries has made some effort onboard BLUE STAR 1 to rebrand the ship, there are a number of clues to the vessel’s usual home waters around the ferry. During our trip we discovered that some of the original facility names remain in place onboard, while little has been done on items such as navigation signage and deck plans to hide the vessels origin or ownership. It was also noted that Blue Star Ferries branded cutlery and crockery were in use on the ship.

Another clue to BLUE STAR 1‘s intended market is the escalator leading from vehicle deck level to the public deck. In Mediterranean service, this is used by foot passengers who board the vessel via a dedicated 2 m wide ramp which lowers adjacent to the stern vehicle ramps. This is a similar arrangement to that used on Visentini-built Ro-Pax vessels. These were also originally designed for use in the Mediterranean.

As mentioned earlier, BLUE STAR 1 is designed for carrying large volumes of passengers and this is reflected in the amount of seats located in corridors. Some examples of this are included in the gallery below.

Although the onboard services crew has been provided by Irish Ferries long-term partner Matrix Ship Management, her Greek officers and deck crew are provided by Attica Group.

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Blue Star 1 Technical Data

A brief overview of BLUE STAR 1‘s key technical information is provided below. For a more in-depth technical specification, please see our main BLUE STAR 1 feature.

Side profile of BLUE STAR 1. Irish Ferries.
Side profile of BLUE STAR 1. Irish Ferries.
 

BLUE STAR 1

IMO Number9197105 3

Callsign

SWET 3
ClassificationLloyds Register of Shipping
100A1:ROLL-ON ROLL-OFF CARGO AND PASSENGER SHIP
LMC UMS 4 (Attica Group)
Operator Irish Ferries
Vessel Management Blue Star Ferries SA 5 (Attica Group)
Usual RoutePembroke Dock [GB] – Rosslare [IE]
Length Overall  171.4 m 6
Length BP 160.575 m 7
Draught6.45 m 8., each producing 11,120 kW running at 428 rpm.
Each pair of engines drives a single KaMeWa 5.4m diameter propeller at 144 rpm via a two input one output reduction gearbox 9.

Two KaMeWa 1,200 kW transverse bow thrusters 10

Three MAN 6L28/32 auxiliary engines 10

Blohm + Voss fin stabilisers 10
Power (Max)44,480 kW (59,650 BHP) 9
Design Speed 27 kts 10 9

Passenger Capacity

Up to 1,600 passengers as built 11 9

Later increased to 1,890 passengers 12

Limited to 1,500 by Irish Ferries 13 14
Crew 112 (as designed) 10
Passenger Cabins

192 cabins (post January 2007)

Vehicle capacity

Up to 780 cars or 1.718 lane meters of freight*
(* figures quoted by Blue Star Ferries)
Flag state (port)Piraeus (Greece) 15
Previous NamesN/A
BLUE STAR 1 was originally to have been named SUPERFERRY ATLANTIC but this was changed prior to launch. Known as SUPERFERRY EUROPE (with the sister called SUPERFERRY STRINTZIS) during the design process.
Technical data for Blue Star 1 (ΜΠΛΟΥ ΣΤΑΡ 1). These details are believed to be correct at the time of publication, but may be subject to change. Weights and dimensions are taken directly from Lloyds Register. These details are believed to be correct at the time of publication, but may be subject to change.
References and Further Reading
  1. Shippax Guide 01, 2001. Onboard Report. p.20[]
  2. Shippax Guide 01, 2001. The AM&A Input. p.34[]
  3. Equasis.org. 2021. Equasis. [online] Available at: <https://www.equasis.org/EquasisWeb/restricted/ShipInfo?fs=Search> [Accessed 25 December 2021].[][]
  4. Classdirect.lr.org. 2021. LR Class Direct. [online] Available at: <https://classdirect.lr.org/assets/LRV38723/details> [Accessed 26 December 2021].) Building Yardvan der Giessen -de Noord B.V., Netherlands #976 ((Classdirect.lr.org. 2021. LR Class Direct. [online] Available at: <https://classdirect.lr.org/assets/LRV38723/details> [Accessed 26 December 2021].)Concept Designvan der Giessen -de Noord B.V.
    Strintzis LinesInterior designerApostolos Molindris & Associates (AM&A)OwnerBlue Star Ferries ((Equasis.org. 2021. Equasis. [online] Available at: <https://www.equasis.org/EquasisWeb/restricted/ShipInfo?fs=Search> [Accessed 26 December 2021].[]
  5. Equasis.org. 2021. Equasis. [online] Available at: <https://www.equasis.org/EquasisWeb/restricted/ShipInfo?fs=Search> [Accessed 26 December 2021].[]
  6. Classdirect.lr.org. 2021. LR Class Direct. [online] Available at: <https://classdirect.lr.org/assets/LRV38723/details> [Accessed 26 December 2021].) ((IHC Merwede Blue Star 1 + 2 data sheet[]
  7. Classdirect.lr.org. 2021. LR Class Direct. [online] Available at: <https://classdirect.lr.org/assets/LRV38723/details> [Accessed 26 December 2021].)

    Beam

    25.7 m (moulded) ((Classdirect.lr.org. 2021. LR Class Direct. [online] Available at: <https://classdirect.lr.org/assets/LRV38723/details> [Accessed 26 December 2021].) ((IHC Merwede Blue Star 1 + 2 data sheet[]
  8. Classdirect.lr.org. 2021. LR Class Direct. [online] Available at: <https://classdirect.lr.org/assets/LRV38723/details> [Accessed 26 December 2021].)

    Gross Tonnage

    29,858 ((Classdirect.lr.org. 2021. LR Class Direct. [online] Available at: <https://classdirect.lr.org/assets/LRV38723/details> [Accessed 26 December 2021].) DWT 4,500 ((Classdirect.lr.org. 2021. LR Class Direct. [online] Available at: <https://classdirect.lr.org/assets/LRV38723/details> [Accessed 26 December 2021].) Number of decks 10

    Machinery

    Four MAN B&W 8L58/64 marine-Diesel engines((Shippax Designs 00, 2000. Blue Star 1. p.131[]
  9. IHC Merwede Blue Star 1 + 2 data sheet[][][][]
  10. Shippax Designs 00, 2000. Blue Star 1. p.131[][][][][]
  11. Investegate.co.uk. 2000. Investegate |Strintzis Lines Ship Announcements | Strintzis Lines Ship: Delivery of New Vessel etc. [online] Available at: <https://www.investegate.co.uk/strintzis-lines-ship–bsmd-/rns/delivery-of-new-vessel-etc/200006080701458199L/> [Accessed 27 January 2022].[]
  12. Attica-group.com. n.d. BLUE STAR 1. [online] Available at: <https://www.attica-group.com/en/our-fleet/15-blue-star-ferries-fleet/2133-blue-star-1,-2.html> [Accessed 27 January 2022].[]
  13. Irishferries.com. n.d. Blue Star 1 | Passenger Ferry | Rosslare Pembroke. [online] Available at: <https://www.irishferries.com/uk-en/ships/bluestar1/> [Accessed 28 January 2022].[]
  14. Gleeson, C., 2021. New Rosslare-Pembroke Dock ferry will be fastest of its kind. [online] The Irish Times. Available at: <https://www.irishtimes.com/business/transport-and-tourism/new-rosslare-pembroke-dock-ferry-will-be-fastest-of-its-kind-1.4520765> [Accessed 28 January 2022].[]
  15. Classdirect.lr.org. 2021. LR Class Direct. [online] Available at: <https://classdirect.lr.org/assets/LRV38723/details> [Accessed 26 December 2021].[]

Steven Tarbox

Steven is a former retail professional and a ferry writer and photographer. He created NI Ferry Site as a web design project in 2014 to be a news and information source for everyone with an interest in ferries, with a particular focus on Northern Ireland. Steven is the editor of the website and looks after all of the technical aspects.
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