[Photo feature] Ferries in Dry Dock – Part 4 of 4

By: Scott Mackey
STENA NORDICA in dry dock - Copyright Scott Mackey

Today’s feature looks at a trio of well-known Stena Line vessels which have served Dublin and Rosslare.


For many years, STENA ADVENTURER was the longest ferry on the Irish Sea. Stena Line made much of that fact when she arrived on the scene in 2003 and took on Irish FerriesULYSSES. She was, at that time, the largest ferry in the world in terms of car capacity.

It was always a hugely impressive sight seeing the ‘Adventurer arrive in Belfast for dry docking. I visited her three times at H&W over the years and her scale is breath-taking. The ship has now served the route for which she was built for almost 20 years.


The elderly relative, having served Rosslare-Fishguard since 2002. She is the oldest unit in Stena’s fleet these days and has a very interesting history. My last visit to her in dry dock was 2017, before she went to Turkey for her life-extension project. This project was a major one which saw major work done internally and externally. Despite the fact that she only returned from Turkey in October 2019, the last couple of years have seen increasing problems with the ship’s reliability. I have visited her in refit at Belfast on 5 separate occasions since 2011 and include a selection of those photos here. It is widely believed she will be replaced later in 2022.


Built for P&O Ferries as EUROPEAN AMBASSADOR, a larger and more powerful close relative of EUROPEAN CAUSEWAY and EUROPEAN HIGHLANDER. The Nordica’ has been with Stena since 2004. She served Dublin-Holyhead from 2008-2015. She has also seen refit cover on virtually all Stena Line’s Irish Sea routes. To my knowledge, she has only been refitted at H&W once or twice but I managed to catch her in dry dock in November 2014.

She is expected back on the Irish Sea this February to provide refit cover for the local fleet. It is also widely believed she is to be lined up to replace STENA EUROPE later in 2022.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who facilitated my numerous visits to the shipyard over the years. Without their help these features would not have been possible.

Particular thanks to the staff at the yard, especially the ever-helpful guys in security.

Also thanks to many of those onboard the ships who also helped out and facilitated me in any way.

Maybe, some day soon, we will be able to visit the yard again and update this feature.

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