Having been invited aboard by Senior Master, Captain Stephen Millar, I boarded the Stena Lagan on a bright November afternoon with my companion for the visit, Scott Mackey, passing a very full looking Stena Performer berthed at VT1. After introducing ourselves at the guest services desk in the lobby, we were escorted to the crew quarters by the Chief Officer in order to meet Captain Millar. After coffee in the tidy and modern looking crew mess area, we joined Captain Millar on the bridge. I am still taken aback by how spacious the bridges on these modern vessels are compared to the older generations! Captain Millar is certainly very knowledgeable and experienced, and was only too happy to talk about his experiences on his current ship and others.
We spotted Stena Superfast VIII swinging off her berth at VT4, and having seen our attempts to take some photos through the bridge windows, Captain Millar kindly offered to take us up to the monkey island for a better view. The view from the top deck was indeed much better, and we also had a good view Stena Performer departing the berth at VT1 behind us and passing en-route to Birkenhead. Despite some light fog/mist, the weather was certainly much better than that experienced when we visited Stena Mersey earlier in the year!
Following our visit to the monkey island, we proceeded down to the main passenger deck to inspect the accommodation. It must be said that the ship was spotless, and the interior still immaculate. The extended Stena Plus area looks very inviting, though I do wonder if it is large enough for the busier crossings. The large Met Bar and Grill and Barista areas look even bigger when empty of any passengers or crew!
Time was getting on, and both my companion and I had other commitments that day, and so to conclude our visit we headed down to the upper freight deck to view the large garage deck completely empty of the usual trucks and trailers. It is hard to appreciate just how expansive the vehicle decks are on a modern ferry when driving on for a crossing. By now outside visibility was a little better, and some photographs of Stena Arctica which was in the dry dock at Harland and Wolff where possible through the ventilation vents in the side of the vessel.
We concluded our visit to the ship by walking down the ramp to the main vehicle deck and stern doors, which was being hosed down at the time by a member of crew. We said goodbye to Captain Millar and proceeded across the linkspan back to dry land, only to be greeted by Stena Precision on her berth at VT1. During our visit she had arrived from Heysham and occupied the berth occupied by her sister when we had boarded!
We finished the trip with some photographs of Stena Precision and external shots of Stena Lagan. The ship (and her sister) are a credit to her crew inside, though I did note that Lagan is starting to show a few scars from her battles with the Irish Sea. These are purely cosmetic though and nothing some white paint can't fix!
I'd like to sincerely thank Senior Master, Captain Stephen Millar for the invitation to visit his ship, and for his generous hospitality (and that of his crew) onboard.