Yesterday we took the Irish Ferries vessel “Oscar Wilde” from Rosslare to Cherbourg. I have been travelling by ferry between Ireland and France since 1973 in fair weather and foul (one particular voyage in force 9 winds sticks in the memory), but this was the first time that I had tried the upgraded service on the route that was made possible by the purchase of the Oscar Wilde in 2008. The boat is not new as it was built to serve between Finland and Sweden in 1987, but it’s a huge upgrade over the previous ships that served the route.
First, the cabins are much better than anything that was offered before. They are spacious (for a ferry), clean, and easy to spend time in. The berths were more than acceptable and I got a good night’s rest.
Second, the public areas are also spacious and clean. You could complain about the quality of the cabaret that was offered at 9:30pm, but that would be being very picky. The guitar player beforehand wasn’t bad, but my enjoyment of his performance was marred by the somewhat insipid pint of Guinness that was served to me. I think that Irish Ferries needs to upgrade the knowledge of its barmen so that they know how to treat Guinness correctly.
Third, there’s a good range of restaurants available to meet most needs. The menus are reasonable if expensive (we spent EUR91.90 for three to eat at the steak house for three steaks and EUR16 for a bottle of Pinot Noir). The only thing that is missing is a place to get good coffee.
All in all, the voyage passed without any problem whatsoever, so if you’ve been avoiding the Rosslare-Cherbourg route because of bad memories of previous ferries, maybe it’s time to look again?