Archive for the ‘Ferries’ Category

What Is The Fastest Ship?

October 20, 2018

I was wondering what the fastest ship is (or was).

When I say “ship”, I mean “passenger vessel”. Now I don’t doubt that there are some super-charged speed-boats out there, but my criteria is a larger vessel that carries paying passengers.

(SS United States Today - source unknown)

(SS United States Today – source unknown)

Ocean Liner fans will know of the SS United States, built in 1952 for the United States Line. She broke the transatlantic speed record on her maiden voyage. She still holds the Blue Riband for being the fastest ocean liner of all time. They say she could achieve 38 knots. (The SS United States was laid-up in 1996 and her fate still remains uncertain).

Given the fact that she was a bloody-great Ocean liner carrying 2,000+ passengers, that is a VERY impressive and unparalleled achievement.

The Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 Ocean Liner must certainly be one of today’s fastest cruise ships. She can achieve 30 knots, which is faster than most.

(Courtesy Incat)

(Courtesy Incat)

People no longer cruise for speed.

My research tells me that Fast-Ferries (SeaCats etc.) hold the maritime speed records today.

The fastest ferry in commercial service on the planet was Incat’s ‘Francisco’ (2012). She operates on the Rio de la Plata estuary (River Plate) between Buenos Aires, Argentina and Montevideo, Uruguay.

The 99-metre long ‘Wave Piercing Catamaran’ accommodates 1024 passengers and 150 cars. Her water-jet engines can achieve a maximum speed of up to 58.1 knots, or 67 mph.

Interestingly she can be powered by duel fuel, one being LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) which looks set to also be the future choice of cruise ships.


The SRN4 Hovercraft

Hovercraft, such as the mighty car-carrying SRN4 were very impressive and very fast. However are they a “ship” at all? After all they effectively “fly” across the water and land.

The SRN4 could accommodate 400+ passengers and 60 cars at a cruising speed 60 knots, but capable of 83 knots, dependant on payload.

The various fast-ferries, including some Hovercraft around the world, are all very impressive. However their service normally has to be suspended when the seas get rough. Condor currently operate fast-ferries up to a 3.5 meter wave height.  After this they become very uncomfortable for passengers.  In contrast the Queen Mary 2 Ocean Liner is designed to cross the North Atlantic, in the winter, whatever the weather.

I still think that the SS United States 38 knots is probably the most impressive achievement of the lot!



U.K. Ferries

June 11, 2018


Given the fact that the United Kingdom is an island, in fact a series of islands, its hardly surprising that we have quite a lot of ferries operating form our ports.

The UK is just 24 miles from the French coast, between Dover and Calais (France). Although we built a channel (train) tunnel, I understand that the Ferries are still thriving on this popular route.

There are ferries to Ireland, Holland, Spain, the Channel Islands and the Scottish Isles, to name just a few destinations.

P&O’s Spirit Of Britain

P&O ‘Spirit of Britain’ review: HERE

However we have lost some ferry routes, including those to Scandinavia, probably due to the success of the budget Airlines such as Easyjet and Ryanair.

The good news is that the latest ferries have more in common with cruise ships in size, facilities and decor, than the rusty old tubs that they once were. The food and service can also be pretty good too!

Ben My Chree (IOM Ferry) review: HERE

Ben My Chree

Ferry slide-shows: HERE

Stena Hollandica review: HERE

Irish Ferries Places Order for Another Vessel

January 3, 2018


Irish Ferries has ordered a second new cruise ferry, will be built in Germany at a cost of €165 million, She will enter service between the UK and Ireland in 2020.

The same shipyard in Flensburg, Germany, is building Irish Ferries’ new ship, the W.B. Yeats, which is due for delivery summer 2018.

When built, the new ship will be the largest cruise ferry in the world in terms of vehicle capacity, offering space for up to 1,500 cars, or up to 330 freight trucks. She is expected to be around 67,300 gross tonnes.

The cruise ferry will be designed specifically to sail between Holyhead and Dublin, in tandem with Irish Ferries’ current flagship Ulysses.

The additional capacity of the new ship on the Holyhead/Dublin route will, by 2020, will allow the W.B. Yeats to sail between Ireland and France year-round.

(Irish Ferries)

Ulysses Irish Super Ferry slide-show: HERE

The Isle Of Man

September 20, 2017


The ‘Isle Of Man’ is an island in the Irish Sea, between Great Britain and Ireland.

I would imaging most Brits have never been there and most will never go there. Well, they are missing out.

The Isle Of Man served by the ‘Isle of Man Steam Packet Company’ velssels, which is the oldest continuously operating passenger shipping company in the world. They celebrated their 180th anniversary in 2010.

In parts of the this charming island, time has stood still. It still has  a vintage steam railway (1875), a vintage electric railway(1900) and horse-drawn trams still serving the two mile promenade.

Ben-My-Chree ferry slide-show: HERE

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company

August 30, 2017

The Isle of Man Steam Packet Company is the oldest continually operating passenger shipping company in the world, having began operations in 1830.

Today they operate regular ferry (and a fast ferry) services which connect the Isle of Man to Heysham, Liverpool, Belfast and Dublin.

Steam packet carries around 600,000 passengers annually and 170,000 cars and motorcycles. This represents an increase in passenger traffic of around 35% and 50% in vehicle traffic since 1996.

If you have never been, the ‘Isle of Man’ is a charming, un-spoilt little island in the Irish sea, steeped in history. I’d recommend it.

Below is a review and slide-show of ‘Ben My Chree’ (Woman of my heart) which is their current all-weather ferry.

Ferry Review: HERE


Other Ferry slide-shows: HERE

Fast Ferry

August 26, 2016

I know a few of my readers have an interest in ferries and fast-ferries.


After all the big car ferries (such as Ulysses) are just like state-of-the-art cruise ships with a car deck or two.

Then we also have the fast-ferry technology: often catamarans (Seacats) propelled by water-jets.

Below is a slide-show of the fast-ferry ‘Condor Rapide’:

Regular readers will also know that I am a big fan of HOVERCRAFT.