The return of Stena Superfast VIII to service yesterday afternoon saw the completion of the 6th refit in Stena’s Irish Sea North refit schedule. Stena Performer, Stena Mersey , Stena Lagan, Stena Hibernia, Stena Superfast VII, and Stena Superfast VIII have all been refitted since November of last year. Stena Precision will refit in April, meaning all 7 local vessels have been refitted in 5 months. All of the refits have been completed by Belfast yard Harland & Wolff with the exception of Stena Lagan (which visited A&P Falmouth instead), in what is a £6 million pound investment by Stena Line.
The refit of Stena Superfast VII and VIII was covered by Stena Nordica, which herself was displaced by the arrival of Stena Superfast X on the Dublin – Holyhead route. Stena Nordica is currently laying over at D1 in Belfast having transferred her crew and stores back to Stena Superfast VIII earlier. She is expected to leave for the Dover strait in the next few days where she will be on charter for DFDS for the next 18 months. Stena Feronia, which covered Stena Lagan and Stena Mersey has meanwhile been sold to Stait Shipping (of New Zealand) and is expected to sail shortly for a new career in the southern hemisphere.
Stena Line Irish Sea North Route Manager Paul Grant is quoted by Stena Line as saying “While the refit window provides us with an opportunity to overhaul all the necessary mechanical aspects of our vessels it also provides the perfect platform for us to upgrade and enhance our passenger facilities. For us, it’s a case of continual improvement, the best just keeps getting better! Our sister ships Stena Lagan and Mersey which operate on the Belfast-Liverpool service have also benefitted from an extensive refit programme which included an enhanced Stena Plus lounge, improved free Wi-Fi coverage and an extended children’s play area.”
NIFerrysite believe some changes have taken place onboard Stena Superfast VII and VIII with dog kennels being added on deck 7, and a change of colour scheme in Stena Plus and the Met Bar. The Superfast Suites on deck 10 have also had refurbishment.
Title image Copyright © Scott Mackey 2015