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Stena Adventurer (II)

The arrival of Stena Line’s new behemoth Stena Adventurer into service on the Holyhead – Dublin Port crossing during July 2003 significantly improved Stena Line’s position on the Irish Sea.

Built by South Korean shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries at a cost of £60mn the Stena Adventurer greatly improved services to both passengers and freight customers and demonstrates Stena Line’s commitment to the route, which has been overshadowed by Irish Ferries impressive Ulysses since 2001.

In fact the arrival into service of the Stena Adventurer increased passenger capacity on Stena’s Holyhead – Dublin Port route by 50% and the freight capacity by 70%.


The ship offers some 3,400 lane metres over decks 1, 3, 5 and 7. Access is through the bow and stern on two levels, decks 5 and 3, the latter having a 15m long stern ramp and an 18m long bow ramp. A tiltable ramp also connects deck 3 with deck 5 while a fixed ramp takes vehicles to deck 1, an area with 415 lane metres.

The 211-metre vessel is three metres longer than the Ulysses and as such Stena Line made full use of the claim that she is the ‘longest ferry ever to sail on the Irish Sea’. In fact, it was interesting to stand on board the Stena Adventurer and look down on the wheelhouse of the competitor. But while the Stena Adventurer may be longer and have a wheelhouse one deck higher, the Ulysses can still lay claim to being the largest car ferry, in terms of vehicle capacity, in the world.

Stena Adventurer











2001, Hyundai Heavy Industries


9487 tonnes

5.7 metres

211.56 metres

29.3 metres

1500 passengers

640 cars or 3400 metres of freight

Bow and stern, main and upper decks


As built, the ship accommodated 1,500 passengers on decks 7, 8 and 9, offering passengers first class on-board facilities including cinema, casino, restaurants, lounges and children’s play areas. A total of 364 passenger berths are also available in 148 luxury cabins.

The Stena Adventurer’s four MAN B&W diesel engines each provide 6480 kW and provide a service speed of 22 knots. Twin KaMeWa bow thrusts are also fitted and this, together with her twin 65 degree angle Becker rudders and twin controllable pitch, high skew KaMeWa screws, make the Stena Adventurer a very manoeuvrable ship.

Berthing in Dublin is interesting. Sailing past the main ferry terminal at berth 49 the Stena Adventurer’s 211m length must complete a sharp turn to starboard to berth head north on the new Berth 51. Unfortunately the Stena Adventurer had not been in service long when she was involved in an incident at Dublin Port. The bow door and ramp of the ship were damaged against the quay wall when the cruise liner Crystal Serenity passed at speed.

The 68,000-ton liner, owned by the Japanese NYK, was departing the port in gusty conditions while, it was alleged, speed had to be increased to maintain steerage. A spokesman for Dublin Port Company said one of its pilots was aboard the Crystal Serenity when the incident happened, but insisted that the speed of the ship was a matter for its Captain.

Berth 51 was previously home to the interim ship Stena Forwarder and before her the Stena Challenger, big ships in their own right. For the Stena Adventurer the berth had to be rebuilt and this also provided the opportunity to construct a much needed dedicated fast craft facility, Berth 51A, just inside the main berth. The Stena Adventurer’s linkspan is the third two-tier ramp to be built in Dublin Port.

In July 2008 Stena Line started accepting foot passengers on the ship for the first time. Up until that point the Dublin run was a drive-on service only. The news coincided with a plan to slow down the HSS Stena Explorer on the Dun Laoghaire crossing by 16 minutes to save costs in the face of rising fuel prices.

In October 2008 it was announced that the Stena Nordica would transfer to the Irish Sea from her usual route between Sweden and Poland as a replacement for the Stena Adventurer's running mate, the Stena Seatrader. The ship took up her new role on 12th November that year.

In 2009 Stena Line gave its Irish Sea fleet a makeover, to the tune of almost £14 million. A total of 10 ships, across five routes received attention, with the Stena Adventurer being handled at Harland & Wolff in Belfast. The £3.1M refit saw a complete revamp of deck 8 on the ship to include a new 202-seater Stena Plus lounge incorporating a family area with MSN stations and dedicated toilets, a new business area with WiFi, a Barista Coffee house, a new shop, a Teen Town branded area with MSN stations, a Met Bar & Grill, a Curious George Play Area and a quiet area/ reading room.

New sailing times for the service, including an additional sailing from both Holyhead and Dublin Port, came into effect from 15th March 2009. The ‘Nordica’ departing from Holyhead at 08:20 and an additional daily eastbound sailing time created, departing Dublin Port at 02:15 and arriving in Holyhead at 05:45. The new departure time provided another option for customers who were unable to make the earlier Stena Adventurer 21:15 sailing from Dublin Port.  In tandem with the changes made to the conventional service, the HSS Stena Explorer was rescheduled to depart from Holyhead each day at the slightly later time of 10:25. The return from Dun Laoghaire to Holyhead was retimed to leave at 13:30. 

February 2010

February 2010

The Stena Adventurer. © Derry Walsh

February 2010

February 2010

The Stena Adventurer. © Derry Walsh

January 2011

January 2011

The Stena Adventurer arrives at Holyhead. © Derry Walsh

The Stena Adventurer inward to Dublin is passed in Dublin Bay by the outward Stena Nordica. © Kenny Whyte

30th November 2013

30th November 2013

Stena Adventurer & Stena Europe pass in Dublin. © Mick Hughes.

30th November 2013

30th November 2013

Passing the Stena Europe at Holyhead © Dick Richards.

Rounding the breakwater into the teeth of a gale. © Ronnie Roberts.

6th January 2015

6th January 2015

© Ronnie Roberts

6th January 2015

6th January 2015

© Ronnie Roberts.

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