Stena Lagan visit, 2/11/15

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.

Stena Performer awaiting departure to Birkenhead, alongside Belfast's VT1. Copyright © Steven Tarbox
Stena Performer awaiting departure to Birkenhead, alongside Belfast’s VT1. Copyright © Steven Tarbox

 

The Bridge, Stena Lagan. Copyright © Steven Tarbox.
The Bridge, Stena Lagan. Copyright © Steven Tarbox.

 

Stena Superfast VIII swings off the Belfast berth, for her afternoon crossing to Loch Ryan Port. Copyright © Steven Tarbox
Stena Superfast VIII swings off the Belfast berth, for her afternoon crossing to Loch Ryan Port. Copyright © Steven Tarbox

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!

Stena Superfast VIII swinging off the berth at Belfast towards Cairnryan, viewed from the monkey island of Stena Lagan.
Stena Superfast VIII swinging off the berth at Belfast towards Cairnryan, viewed from the monkey island of Stena Lagan.

 

A pretty full looking Stena Performer departs Belfast for Birkenhead. Viewed from Stena Lagan's monkey island.
A pretty full looking Stena Performer departs Belfast for Birkenhead. Viewed from Stena Lagan’s monkey island.

 

Jolanta inbound to Belfast. Copyright © Steven Tarbox.
Jolanta inbound to Belfast. Copyright © Steven Tarbox.

 

Having passed us on Stena Lagan, Jolanta proceeds into Belfast Harbour. Stena Arctica and one of the oil rigs which have become somewhat a permanent feature at Harland and Wolff lately are in the background. Copyright © Steven Tarbox
Having passed us on Stena Lagan, Jolanta proceeds into Belfast Harbour. Stena Arctica and one of the oil rigs which have become somewhat a permanent feature at Harland and Wolff lately are in the background. Copyright © Steven Tarbox.

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!

Stena Lagan's Stena Plus lounge.
Stena Lagan’s Stena Plus lounge.

 

Bar counter, The Met Bar and Grill, Stena Lagan. Copyright © Steven Tarbox
Bar counter, The Met Bar and Grill, Stena Lagan. Copyright © Steven Tarbox

 

The met grill and bar, Stena Lagan. Copyright © Steven Tarbox.
The met grill and bar, Stena Lagan. Copyright © Steven Tarbox.

 

Barista, Stena Lagan. Copyright © Steven Tarbox.
Barista, Stena Lagan. Copyright © Steven Tarbox.

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.

Deck 4 garage, Stena Lagan. Copyright © Steven Tarbox
Deck 4 garage looking forward, Stena Lagan. Copyright © Steven Tarbox

 

Deck 4 garage, Stena Lagan. Looking astern. The ramp to the car deck on deck six can be seen in the centre of the picture. copyright © Steven Tarbox.
Deck 4 garage, Stena Lagan. Looking aft. The ramp to the car deck on deck six can be seen in the centre of the picture. copyright © Steven Tarbox.

 

Deck 4 garage, Stena Lagan. Looking astern. Copyright © Steven Tarbox.
Deck 4 garage, Stena Lagan. Looking aft. Copyright © Steven Tarbox.

 

Vehicle ramps to deck 4 and deck 6, Stena Lagan. Copyright © Steven Tarbox.
Vehicle ramps to deck 4 and deck 6, Stena Lagan. Copyright © Steven Tarbox.

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!

Looking down the ramp from deck 3 to deck 4. Copyright © Steven Tarbox.
Looking down the ramp from deck 3 to deck 4. Copyright © Steven Tarbox.

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!

Stena Precision, VT1, Belfast. Viewed from the linkspan at VT2. Copyright © Steven Tarbox.
Stena Precision, VT1, Belfast. Viewed from the linkspan at VT2. Copyright © Steven Tarbox.

 

Stena Lagan, alongside VT2, Belfast. Viewed from the freight yard at VT2. Taken following a visit to Stena Lagan on 2nd November 2015. With many thanks to Captain Stephen Millar for his hospitality.
Stena Lagan, alongside VT2, Belfast. Viewed from the freight yard at VT2. Taken following a visit to Stena Lagan on 2nd November 2015. With many thanks to Captain Stephen Millar for his hospitality.

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.

To view all of the photographs from this visit, please visit here, here, and Scott’s page here.

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