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Best Ireland-France option in winter (Irish Ferries Epsilon or Stena Horizon)

  • #1
    Registered Users Posts: 2,157 ✭✭✭ embraer170

    With no Brittany Ferries operating, what is the better option in winter for a France - Ireland crossing?

    The Irish Ferries Epsilon and Stena Horizon look like very similar ships. Any difference at all in passenger experience, cabin cleanliness etc.?


  • To the best of my knowledge they are the same (sister ships). As for level of service, there is not a lot onboard on either from my recollection, one bar, cafe and one restaurant. I think you should consider that your holiday will begin once you disembark from either ship in France. Use the time onboard to do some reading. Other than that, I would choose on price and points of Irish departure.

    Have a lovey break.

  • Thanks for the reply!

  • Stena have had a reshuffle on the Irish Sea. Stena Horizon has been replaced with Stena Vinga on Rosslare - Cherbourge, which is operating freight only at the moment.

    Irish Ferries' Epsilon is the only ship offering passenger services at the moment.

  • Horizon seems to be back 21 November (some crew apparently tested positive for Corona), but it seems that would accept a passenger/car booking on the Vinga too.

    The Irish Ferries Epsilon crossings from January 2021 are not allowing passengers to book cabins. These are available only after boarding and if available.

  • Can concur, just booked the Stena Horizon for January 2nd. Wasn't really going to risk the Irish Ferries without a cabin prebooked, potential overnight in a thanks!

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  • damo86 wrote: »
    Can concur, just booked the Stena Horizon for January 2nd. Wasn't really going to risk the Irish Ferries without a cabin prebooked, potential overnight in a thanks!
    The Stena Horizon is much critisised for being too "small" (noting that as a ferry its just as big as the Oscar Wilde back in the days), or having too steep a ramp or not enough restaurants or bar options or not having tellys in the bedrooms

    Anyhow, we have travelled with it a number of times , only in the Winter, and its a fine ship. Its reasonably stable in choppy waters, the food is edible - even nice at times, the bar has reasonable guinness, the cabins are in good shape (only thing is that they have this one by one sheet thing for the bog roll which can be tricky... after a clatter of guinness) , the beds reasonably comfy.
    After a few stena refits, its a little plusher than it was originally when it was very much styled as an italian ice cream parlour/ bistro on the seas (again not suiting irish people who prefer carpets over tiled surfaces to puke on !!! )
    There also used to be a less than customer friendly key policy of having to stand in a queue at reception to swap a passport or car keys as security for a physical key but now its finally proper key cards (in case you see gripes online about that too)

    I will admit that on a packed summer crossing I can imagine that it might get a bit full, but in the winter thats not an issue and for an overnight ferry where you get on, settle in, have some pints, sleep, get brekkie and then disembark: its spot on.

  • I just looked and the timetable for Stena is now changed that in January they no longer have a day in port on a Monday, and are instead shuttling over and back non stop, so the days of departure from Rosslare or Cherbourg are different every other week.

    The timetable from February onwards is still the "old" way of fixed days for sailings in a certain direction with Monday free, but depending on Brexit and landbridge chaos that could change yet!