The opening of the Cairnryan Stena Ferry Terminal
21st November 2011 lead to the closure of the Ferry
Terminal in Stranraer, ending a service between
Stranraer and Belfast that began in 1862. Stranraer
harbour has now been redeveloped.
The last three Stena ships on that route were
withdrawn from service and replaced by the 2 sisters
ships, Stena Superfast VII & VIII.
The ships taken out of service were the 7,000 ton
Stena Caledonia, 9,000 ton Stena Navigator, and
19,000 ton Stena Voyager.
Stena Voyager was a
jet engine powered 40 knot plus catamaran that would
have been able to do the new crossing between
Cairnryan & Belfast in well under 2 hours. This
ship had been operated between Stranraer &
Belfast from entering service in 1996.
The jet engines high fuel usage led to this ship
being taken out of service after the service between
Cairnryan and Belfast began in 2011, with it being
scrapped in 2013.
Her sister ship Stena Discovery was
sold in 2010 to a company in Venezuela, then scrapped
in Turkey 2015.
A second sister ship Stena Explorer is now
moored in Turkey.
These were the largest fast ferries in the world,
the shipping equivalent of Concorde, a fantastic
design, just too expensive to run.
Stena Superfast VII &
VIII are now the largest ferries to have been
operated from Scotland. They are 30,285 tons, 669
feet long, with 10 decks and can travel about 30
knots, crossing between Cairnryan and Belfast in
about 2 hours 15 minutes. They were originally built
for the Estonian ferry company Tallink in 2001 for
the route between Tallinn (Estonia), Helsinki
(Finland) & Rostock (Germany). These ships are
ice class 1A Super that allows them to operate in
extreme ice conditions. Hopefully they will not be
encountering any ice in the Irish Sea.
The new ships have onboard facilities such as free
WiFi, free movies, restaurant and exclusive Stena
Plus Lounge. You can also relax in their Nordic Spa,
with a jacuzzi & sauna. Their POD lounge is an
interactive zone with all the latest in technology
from iPads to Xboxes.
The previous largest ferries operating out of
Scotland were on the run between Rosyth and
Zeebrugge, these included 2 superfast ferries at
about 30,000 tons, then from 2009, the Scottish Viking at 27,000
tons. Scottish Viking was replaced in 2010 by an
11,000 ton freight only ferry named Tor Finlandia,
with that service ending in 2018 after a fire on the
The largest P&O ferries
operating between Cairnryan and Larne/ Ireland are
about 21,000 tons. The next largest ferry operating
out of Scotland is the Hrossey at 11,700 tons,
traveling between Aberdeen, Orkney and Shetland
The largest ferries running to the Scottish
western Islands are the 8,680 ton Loch Seaforth running
between Ullapool in Northwest Scotland and Stornoway
on the Isle of Lewis, and the 5,200 ton Caledonian Isles
traveling between Ardrossan and the Isle of
The largest ferry operating out of the UK is the
P&O Pride of Rotterdam at
about 60,000 tons, operated between Hull and