Stena Line HSS Explorer – round trip minicruise

It was an early start from the Bron Y Wendon Caravan Park for the day trip on the Stena Line HSS Explorer. A bus to Colwyn Bay rail station and a short wait for the Arriva Trains Wales service to Holyhead. Typical of this route, the refurbished Class 158 was bang on time.

A bargain priced "Day Ranger" ticket included the bus travel too!

A bargain priced “Day Ranger” ticket included the bus travel too!

Worthy of a mention, the “Day Ranger” costs £15 and allows unlimited travel in certain “zones” within North Wales. The day ranger also includes travel on buses. BARGAIN!

The train is scheduled to arrive into Holyhead a good hour or so before the departure of the HSS. This allows time for a quick stroll towards town from where there are a couple of vantage points offering views of the Stena Line HSS Explorer

Stena Line HSS Explorer

The Dublin Swift (Irish Ferries) is dwarfed by the HSS.

Stena Line HSS 1500 Explorer

The Stena Line HSS Explorer alongside at Holyhead.

Stena HSS Explorer

The (still) futuristic looking Stena HSS seen from the port transfer bus

The outward crossing started in damp and murky weather. The weather conditions prevented a camera novice like me from taking any decent shots of other vessels on the Irish Sea. Sea conditions were calm, unlike during my previous HSS trip in December 2013 – see here

In order to demonstrate the slight roll – wave heights were described as “around one metre” – here is a short video clip taken from the forward observation area.

Alas, I must preferred the rolling in the 3.5 metre waves in December!

Stena Line HSS Explorer

The outer deck on the Stena Line HSS Explorer – always worth “exploring” irrespective of the weather

The outer deck is divided into two sections – one where smoking is permitted. The photo’ above shows the non smoking area.

The might Ulysses en route to Dublin

The might Ulysses en route to Dublin

The Stena Adventurer heading fast for Dublin

The Stena Adventurer heading for Dublin

Stena Line HSS Explorer

Coffee anyone?

On arrival at Dun Laoghaire, I remained on board as a “round trip passenger”. The photograph above shows the Barista coffee area and the forward lounge.

Stena Line HSS Explorer

Loading and unloading can take place simultaneously on the Stena Line HSS Explorer

On arrival in Ireland, disembarkation commenced within seconds of being alongside. The vessel uses an advanced “holding in place” system, unlike the old-fashioned chains and ropes used by most vessels.

Stena Line HSS Explorer

Forward viewing area

On the return journey, the weather changed for the better and sunlight flooded the forward viewing area.

Stena Line HSS Explorer

The outer deck in better weather!

As the HSS Stena Explorer raced towards Holyhead, Irish Ferries “Ulysses” was observed working towards Dublin with the 1410 sailing ex  Holyhead. Meanwhile, the Stena Adventurer takes charge of the 1350 service ex Holyhead. Interestingly, the Adventurer is booked to depart ahead of the bug “U”, but we passed Ulysses first, suggesting either one was early, one was late, or maybe a bit of both! Do you know the answer? Please complete the “speak your mind” box and I will publish your answer!

Stena Line HSS Explorer

The self-service restaurant on board the Stena HSS Explorer offers some excellent sea views

On the return leg, I was fortunate enough – and very grateful – to visit the bridge.

Stena HSS

The bridge and the captain’s seat

A great view from the bridge

A great view from the bridge

Stena HSS Explorer

This photo of the Stena SeaLynx was on display en route to the bridge

DSCN2826

DSCN2814

Alas, we were soon back in Holyhead and time to disembark.

The 2014 season for the Stena HSS Explorer runs until September 9th, with further sailing planned for the Christmas and New Year period.

Stena Line HSS Explorer – sold

Latest update on the Stena HSS, she is safely berthed in Turkey where her new owners will be using her as waterfront office space, what an amazing place to work that would be.

My previous trip on the HSS was December 2013. This was in fairly rough seas and thus an excellent day out – read about it here!

 

 

 

 

 

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