Overview of GNV Allegra
GNV Allegra Fast Facts
|Current Name: GNV Allegra||Previous Names: KRONPRINS HARALD (iii)|
|Shipyard: Wärtsilä / Wärtsilä Marine Perno yard, Turku [FI] #1292,||IMO Number: 8506311|
|Current Operator: Grandi Navi Veloci||Current Route: Genoa [IT] - Olbia [IT}|
|Length Overall: 166.3m||Beam: 28.41|
|Passenger Capacity: 1,458 (for Irish Ferries)||Vehicle Capacity: Approx. 1,220 lane metres of freight and 250 cars or small vans|
|Tonnage: 31,194 gt (Irish Ferries service)||Sister-ships: N/A|
Table of contents
- Overview of GNV Allegra
- Technical Data (as Oscar Wilde)
- Irish Ferries Deck plan
- A Brief History of Kronprins Harald / Oscar Wilde
- Photo Gallery
GNV ALLEGRA is a passenger and vehicle operated by GNV (Grandi Navi Veloci). She was previously Irish Ferries OSCAR WILDE, for whom she normally operated on their Rosslare to France routes. She also provided cover on Irish Ferries Dublin to Holyhead and Rosslare to Prembroke Dock routes when required, such as for covering refits.
During December 2018, Irish Ferries announced that they were unlikely to operate any sailings to France from Rosslare in 2019. It was reported separately in the French media (link in French) that OSCAR WILDE was now for sale, confirming months of speculation that this was the case. On May 2nd 2019, OSCAR WILDE left Belfast for Italy following her sale to MSC. Following repainting she was renamed GNV ALLEGRA for the Genoa – Olbia route. GNV ALLEGRA was originally built for Colour Line predecessor Jahre Line as KRONPRINS HARALD (iii).
Technical Data (as Oscar Wilde)
The following technical info is given for when the vessel was in Irish Ferries service named OSCAR WILDE unless otherwise stated, and may have changed during subsequent ownership.
(now GNV ALLEGRA)
|Design|| Wärtsilä Marine|
Elomatic (subsequently became Deltamarin following a management buy-out)
|Building Yard||Wärtsilä / Wärtsilä Marine Perno, Turku, Finland
(later known as Kvaerner-Masa, Aker Yards, STX Finland. Presently known as Meyer Turku)
|In service [Original]||26/03/1987|
|In service [Irish Ferries]||30/11/2007 (Rosslare – Cherbourg)|
|Original Interior design||Hans Sabert, HSI (Germany) & Gabriel Finne, Finne Architects (Norway)|
[Finne Architects is now Falkum Hansen]
Lloyds Register of Shipping
100A1 Passenger and vehicle ferry
|Length overall (between perpendiculars)||166.3m (150m)|
|Gross Tonnage (Irish Ferries)||31,914|
|Total Number of decks||11|
|Machinery|| Two Wärtsilä-Sulzer 12 ZAV 40 (6,600 kW each) and two Wärtsilä-Sulzer 6 ZAL 40 (3,300 kW each) marine Diesel engines. These are placed in pairs In a father-son arrangement.|
Two controllable pitch propellers, each driven through a two input one output reduction gearbox
Two transverse bow thrusters
|Operational speed||21.5 kts|
|Passenger Capacity (Irish Ferries)||1,458|
|Vehicle Capacity||1,220 lane metres |
62 freight vehicles can be accommodated on deck 3, and approximately 250 cars and vans on deck 4. No HGV’s can be carried on deck 4.
Irish Ferries states that Oscar Wilde can carry up to 580 cars (if no freight carried). 20 reefer points are available. Vehicles are accommodated on decks 3 and 4. Deck 3 is accessed directly via the bow and stern doors, and deck 4 accessed from deck 3 via an internal ramp. Max clearance is 4.55m
|On-board Facilities (Irish Ferries)|
See deck plan below for the layout of these facilities
|Flag (Irish Ferries)||Nassau (The Bahamas)|
[Changed to Limassol (Cyprus) on 30.04.19 after sale]
Irish Ferries Deck plan
A Brief History of Kronprins Harald / Oscar Wilde
OSCAR WILDE was designed and built by Wärtsilä’s Perno yard (Now Meyer Turku) in 1987 as KRONPRINS HARALD (iii) for Norwegian operator Jahre Line’s Oslo to Kiel route, a crossing which would take her 19.5 hours. She later passed to Color Line when Jahre Line was merged with Norway Line to form that company.
Her original interior layout and styling borrowed heavily from Viking Line’s sisters MARIELLA and OLYMPIA (now PRINCESS ANASTASIA, formerly PRIDE OF BILBAO), also built at the same yard. This was split into first and second class passenger spaces rather than the single-class layout of the Viking Line ships, however.
Irish Ferries Purchase and Rebuild
Irish Ferries purchased KRONPRINS HARALD in 2007, renaming her OSCAR WILDE after the Irish author and playwright of the same name. Although purchased for €45m in January of 2007, KRONPRINS HARALD remained in service for Color Line under a charter arrangement until the arrival of her replacement COLOR MAGIC, then the largest cruise ferry in the world, in September that year. Irish Ferries parent Irish Continental Group had previous experience with Wartsila-built ferries, having previously owned PRIDE OF BILBAO which they had chartered to P&O for their Portsmouth to Bilbao route.
When her Color Line service was finished, KRONPRINS HARALD arrived at the Fredericia Skibsværft A/S shipyard in Munkebo (Fredericia), Denmark for rebuilding for Irish Ferries use on 4th September that year. At the time Irish Ferries said in a press release (09/10/07):
“This work will include the construction of two new state of the art 55-seat cinemas, the restyling of restaurants, bistros, lounge bars, children’s play areas and other passenger facilities in themes that will reflect the link with Oscar Wilde, including a major upgrade to the main restaurant – the Left Bank Brasserie, and the fitting of an extra bow thruster for improved manoeuvrability,
Other items include the fitting out of a new hair & beauty salon, revamping of the main reception area, the provision of 130 new reclining seats, the fitting of new passenger information signs and the re-branding of the vessel in Irish Ferries livery.”
On the technical side, in addition to the fitting of a second bow thruster to improve manoeuvrability in port, Irish Ferries also invested in the upgrade of the smoke alarm systems and an overhaul of the sprinkler system. In total the rebuild/refit took over 2 months to complete, with the now renamed OSCAR WILDE only leaving Fredericia for Ireland (stopping for berthing trials at Cherbourg, Roscoff, and Pembroke Dock on the way) in mid-November. The total cost of acquiring and improving the vessel represented an investment of some €50m by Irish Ferries owners Irish Continental Group.
Ireland to France (and Wales)
The newly named OSCAR WILDE made her first commercial crossing for Irish Ferries on 30th November 2007 at 16:00. Coincidentally this was 107 years to the day since the death of Oscar Wilde in Paris. Flying the flag of the Bahamas, she replaced the older and smaller NORMANDY (as-built a sister to Stena Line’s STENA EUROPE), which was offered for sale.
As well as offering superior passenger facilities to her predecessor, OSCAR WILDE could also carry 40% more passenger vehicles and 62 freight units instead of the 43 of NORMANDY.
Despite her thorough refit OSCAR WILDE arrived still wearing the blue hull of Color Line rather than the usual Irish Ferries all-over white livery. This is said by some to be in order to disguise the appearance of rust streaking and other wear and tear to the hull which results from operating on what can be quite a rough and unforgiving crossing. However, no official reason appears to have ever been given for her different livery to the rest of the fleet.
Throughout her Irish Ferries career she retained this unique livery of a blue hull and white funnel despite appearing with a white hull in some publicity materials. While some have speculated that the blue hull was retained as a cost-saving measure, her hull has been taken back to bare metal and totally repainted since her arrival in Irish waters.
On 5th February
From 2018, Irish Ferries intend to operate their Rosslare to France sailings on a seasonal basis only. This will entail OSCAR WILDE being laid up for winter. However, due to the delayed delivery of W.B. YEATS , it is currently expected that OSCAR WILDE will act as EPSILON to operate a week-round Dublin – Cherbourg route as previously planned.
During December 2018, Irish Ferries announced that they did not expect to operate any sailings on OSCAR WILDE‘s normal routes between Rosslare and France. This was a change to the previously stated intention to run a seasonal service from
Sale to GNV
On May 15th NI Ferry Site revealed that she would be renamed GNV ALLEGRA after repainting into GNV colours before entering service on the Genoa – Olbia route on May 25th.
- The order of KRONPRINS HARALD was placed on the year of Jahre Line’s 25th anniversary, 1986. Four years later the company name would disappear, with Jahre Line merging with Norway Line to form Color Line. Today Color Line serves Norway, Denmark, Germany, and Sweden.
- The hull form of KRONPRINS HARALD featured a new form of twin-skeg stern devised by Wärtsilä’s Finnish Naval Architect Markku Kanerva to reduce fuel consumption. This design was so successful, that the hull form of KRONPRINS HARALD formed the basis of the hull design of Brittany Ferries’ NORMANDIE and Trasmediterránea’s JUAN J SISTER, amongst others. This efficient hull design helped KRONPRINS HARALD consume the same amount of fuel as the vessel she replaced, despite being twice the size.
- Between 1993 and 2010, Irish Continental Group owned the former OLYMPIA, a vessel OSCAR WILDE‘s as-built layout was heavily influenced by. She never entered service for Irish Ferries though, and instead she was chartered to P&O European Ferries who operated her primarily between Portsmouth and Bilbao as PRIDE OF BILBAO. She is currently St Peter Line’s PRINCESS ANASTASIA.
- Throughout her 11+ year career with Irish Ferries, OSCAR WILDE wore a unique livery with blue hull while the rest of the Irish Ferries fleet had white hulls. While some speculated that this was because she was never fully repainted and had retained her hull paint from her Color Line days, she was stripped back to bare metal on at least one occasion as an Irish Ferries vessel proving that theory void. A similar livery, but with a green funnel, was implemented on BLUE STAR 1 when she was chartered by Irish Ferries.
- One of GNV ALLEGRA‘s current fleet-mates is SNAV ADRIATICO. As Stena Line’s KONINGIN BEATRIX she also served Rosslare, as the regular Rosslare – Fishguard ship before she was replaced by STENA EUROPE.
Books and other publications
Id, K., & Peter, B. (2017). Innovation and Specialisation: The Story of Shipbuilding in Finland.Copenhagen: Nautilus Forlag.
Irish Ferries Press Releases dated 09/10/2007 & 30/11/2007
The above article is Copyright © Steven Tarbox, all rights reserved. Unauthorised reproduction or distribution is strictly prohibited. All images are Copyright © of their credited copyright holder unless explicitly stated otherwise.
Original Article Published: 08/02/2016
Updated with technical info and partially rewritten 28-30/06/2018
Text Last Updated: 25.12.2021
(Re-formatted 05.11.19 / 10.11.20 and converted to AMP 25.12.2921)