Today marks two decades of service for the Japanese-built ferry
Twenty years ago today, P&O Irish Sea’s brand-new ferry EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY made her first commercial voyage between Larne and Cairnryan. The £33m vessel was christened by Mrs Penelope Harding, wife of Mr Tim Harding, who had recently retired from the main board of P&O on August 22. The new ship replaced the elderly PRIDE OF RATHLIN which had served the Cairnryan route since 1992. Coincidentally, at 20 years old EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY is now a similar age as ‘Rathlin’ was when introduced at Larne.
EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY was the first ship to be purpose-built for the Cairnryan route. She was so successful in her initial months that P&O exercised an option for a sister before the end of the year. The £35m sister, EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER, would be based on ‘Causeway’ but with a few changes. Despite being slightly longer and having an additional lifeboat on both sides, the capacity of the second ship remained the same. ‘Highlander’ replaced the freighters EUROPEAN ENDEAVOUR and EUROPEAN PATHFINDER in 2002.
Below is a reproduction of the press release announcing the arrival of EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY at Larne from Japan.
Thursday 10 August – Larne
P&O’s new luxury ferry the mv European Causeway has safely reached its home Port of Larne after a six week voyage from the Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, shipyard at Shimonoseki in Japan, where it was built. During the next few days the ship will be undergoing final tests and trials under Captain Brian Beckley before entering service on the Larne – Cairnryan route on Monday August 14.
Captain Beckley together with Captain Jim McMullan were responsible for bringing the new vessel from Japan and both have been impressed with its performance – not least its ability to achieve a steady 23 knots even in relatively rough sea conditions.
Customers using P&O Irish Sea’s Larne – Cairnryan route will be in for a treat when they travel on the new 20,800 tonne European Causeway which has a speed of 23 knots and carries up to 400 passengers and 375 cars. With a large buffet restaurant, lounge/bar, video lounge, quiet lounge and a children’s cinema and play area there is plenty to keep passengers busy during the short crossing.
P&O has invested more than £33 million in the new ship to provide high levels of service and comfort for its passengers who use the Larne – Cairnryan route, which is one of the shortest and most popular crossings on the Irish Sea.