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P & O Irish Sea Ferries

Information about P&O Irish Sea Ferry

P&O Irish Sea Ferries with their fast craft, brand new super ferries and conventional ships will ensure you travel fast, in style and comfort and enjoy traditional P&O warmth and hospitality. P&O Irish Sea Ferries currently operates a fleet of 5 ships and one fast ferry between Great Britain, Ireland and France. In 2003 they carried 450,000 freight units, 220,000 tourist vehicles and 900,000 passengers.

Whether you are travelling fast class on P&O Irish Sea Ferries SuperStar Express or cruising onboard their luxurious superferries, European Highlander or European Causeway, P&O Irish Sea Ferries offers a host of facilities (varies between ships) including the popular Fables Restaurant and Poets Bar as well as a video lounge, quiet lounge, children s video area, games area and shop. On Superstar Express one can upgrade to the exclusive Club Class lounge where a dedicated steward will serve complimentary tea/coffee and sandwiches and daily newspapers and magazines are available. Norbay and Norbank are comfortable ships that operate the popular P&O Irish Sea Ferries Liverpool to Dublin ferry crossing. Both have stylish interiors, a choice of two restaurants and lounges, a bar and choice of cabins.

The history of P&O Irish Sea Ferries can be traced back to May 1948 when Atlantic Steam Navigation Company (ASN) commenced operations between Preston and Larne with the chartered tank landing craft Empire Cedric. This was so successful that by 1950 the company had chartered three additional craft and opened a second link to Belfast.

The 1956 Suez crisis saw the entire fleet requisitioned by the British Government and ships were chartered from Germany in order to continue services. Within two years, the company purchased the Bardic Ferry and Ionic Ferry, the World's first commercial roll-on, roll-off vessels, each capable of carrying lorries and with sufficient headroom to carry double-decker buses. First and Second Class accommodation for 55 passengers was provided, each with their own dining room and lounge. Two larger vessels were subsequently ordered and entered service from Tilbury to Rotterdam and Antwerp in 1961/2. During the 1960s, ASN purchased a small pier at Cairnryan on Loch Ryan, Wigtownshire for £60,000 and in 1970 they upgraded it for a new short-sea service.

The European Ferries Group (EFG) acquired ASN for £5.5 million in November 1971 and immediately injected new ideas, new ships and a new style of service. Operations to Preston, with its tidal problems and long narrow course up the River Ribble ceased and the Ionic Ferry (with an increased passenger certificate for 218) was relocated to Cairnryan for trials before commencing the new service to Belfast services in July 1974.

Pandoro (part of P&O European Ferries Irish Sea) can trace its history back to 1974 and is a clever acronym of P AND O RO (i.e. roll on). Seeking to increase its road haulage and freight interests, P&O purchased the well-established Coast Lines (26% share holders in North Sea Ferries). Long established names such as Coast Lines, the Belfast Steamship Company (Liverpool  Belfast) and Burns & Laird (Ardrossan - Belfast) disappeared and the operating title of P&O Ferries (Irish Sea Services) was adopted. Their 'new image' became visible in October 1975 when the Ulster Queen and Ulster Prince were duly painted in the pale blue livery. A new service was then established between Fleetwood and Larne. In addition, one of the ships also served Dublin in a new joint venture with the British & Irish Steam Packet Co, (B+I). The ro-ro trade expanded rapidly during the 'troubles' in Northern Ireland and smaller, less profitable services were soon axed as the new Pandoro services went from strength to strength. Pandoro expanded its capacity with the addition / replacement of seven ships.

P&O European Ferries (Irish Sea) was formed in 1998 by the merger of the Cairnryan-based service of P&O European (Felixstowe) Ltd. and Pandoro Ltd. Which operated the routes from Ardrossan - Larne, Fleetwood - Larne, Liverpool - Dublin and Rosslare - Cherbourg.

P&O Irish Sea Ferries currently operates ferry crossings between Larne and Cairnryan, Larne and Troon, Dublin and Liverpool and Rosslare and Cherbourg, and is the only ferry operator to offer two ferry crossings between Ireland and Scotland: Larne to Troon and Larne to Cairnryan.


P&O Irish Sea Ferry Routes
Larne to Cairnryan ferry
Larne, United Kingdom
Cairnryan, United Kingdom
Cairnryan to Larne ferry
Cairnryan, United Kingdom
Larne, United Kingdom
Liverpool to Dublin ferry
Liverpool, United Kingdom
Dublin, Ireland
Troon to Larne ferry
Troon, United Kingdom
Larne, United Kingdom
Larne to Troon ferry
Larne, United Kingdom
Troon, United Kingdom
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Stena Line
Stranraer - Belfast
Stranraer, United Kingdom
Belfast, United Kingdom
Stena Line
Fishguard - Rosslare
Fishguard, United Kingdom
Rosslare, Ireland
Stena Line
Fleetwood - Larne
Fleetwood, United Kingdom
Larne, United Kingdom
Stena Line
Holyhead - Dublin
Holyhead, United Kingdom
Dublin, Ireland
Irish Ferries
Pembroke - Rosslare
Pembroke, United Kingdom
Rosslare, Ireland
Swansea Cork
Swansea - Cork
Swansea, United Kingdom
Cork, Ireland

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ABTA D1175