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Ulysses v Stena Adventurer(Read 11316 times)
Ulysses v Stena Adventurer on: September 28, 2017, 03:47:12 pm
Having travelled on both this summer [and many summers previously] I wondered which is best?

I think I prefer Adventurer for ease of access when driving on to the ship however I find the shipboard experience is not great. The facilities [food/coffee etc] are fine but I find the rooms too big and the ship does not seem to accommodate large numbers of passengers easily [is that the way the seats are laid out?]. Also access to the decks is rather restricted, having to peer out over high metal sides does not afford a sense of being at sea.

Ulysses I find harder to drive on to [that second floor ramp] but the interior is more cosy, facilities are ok, access to the top deck is easy and gives fine views and the rear James Joyce lounge enables me to get a bit of peace and a rest after lunch [if I am taking the 14.10 to Dublin]. Lastly I have never found either ship bounce about in rough weather but I imagine that Ulysses is the more stable.

Both ships seem to be pretty punctual but on balance I prefer Ulysses.

 What do others think?



Re: Ulysses v Stena Adventurer Reply #1 on: September 29, 2017, 11:06:13 pm
Ulysses much better - specifically designed for route and it shows.  Never misses a crossing although Adventurer is not too bad in this respect.

Layout on Adventurer poor.  Bottom deck large self service and cinemas now, but one big space with little windows down the sides.  Too open plan.

One deck up Met grill is large but food choice boring and bar open plan and boring as well.  Very much motorway services.

Often upper deck is closed off anyway except for shop and Stena Plus.

One thing better on Stena is cheaper coffee and free refills.  Also staff local.

Stena Hibernia in her time was much better than Adventurer- purpose built, proper bars, gdd stairways and a good sea boat.



Re: Ulysses v Stena Adventurer Reply #2 on: November 02, 2017, 09:32:31 pm
Personally I think Ulysses is overrated, but that’s a personal opinion.  She’s just a big floating multi-storey car park with a particularly nice bar in my honest opinion!  Whether Ulysses never misses a crossing or not depends on your interpretation of what constitutes a delayed versus a cancelled and rescheduled crossing ;).  I can’t comment on Adventurer though hoping to cross on her next year.  I’m not a big fan of her running mate though.
Steve in Belfast (suburbia)

Flickr: www.flickr.com/tarbyonline



Re: Ulysses v Stena Adventurer Reply #3 on: November 02, 2017, 11:36:04 pm
I'd rather Stena Adventurer. I found her in good condition, staff were very good, polite and attentive - visibly cleaning the ship on docking in Holyhead.

I found the seating in the Restaurant on Deck 8 very worn -  the fabric on the benches had more or less disintegrated and the padding was worn out. As for the outside decks, I found them generous. You could go for a good walk, and the decks and railings were well looked after - painted and rust free. The decks were also not overcrowded. P&O Dover have followed a policy for many years of providing only a sliver of outside deck-space - usually full of smokers and tourists. On the other P&O vessels, your free to wander, and like Stena, the majority are well maintained.

One thing I didn't find Stena Adventurer was cramped or claustrophobic. The windows are nice and large and she's a good bright airy ship. It’s a pity the lounges on Deck 9 are locked. The ship was pristine.

As for Stena Superfast X, I found her reasonable, certainly smaller than Stena Adventurer, a big improvement on Stena Nordica. The latter I always felt was out of its depth on the Holyhead run. Too cramped and having the front lounge split 30 / 70 was a strange arrangement. European Highlander and European Causeway are in far better condition and have aged much more gracefully. Interiors too are in much better shape.

Not a great fan of Ulysses. The latter was built at Aker Finnyards (same yard that built P&O's Spirit of Britain & Spirit of France) at a cost of I believe €100 million (P&O payed £180 million for the Spirit of Britain). She's a reasonable vessel, but not outstanding. I'd rather Pride of Rotterdam / Hull (£80 million), the latter being built by Fincantieri.

I personally prefer Stena's crewing policy to Irish Ferries. The latter’s largely East European crews certainly aren't as well paid as their Stena counterparts (Ulysses is Cypriot flagged) and tend to be more abrupt. The whole crewing arrangements was highly controversial a little over ten years ago, when much of the Irish on-board services staff were terminated.

P&O, with the exception of Dover based vessels, also use low-cost labour, but to a lower extent. Spanish, Portuguese, and Filipino tends to be the norm, but Purser's, Head Chefs, and of course the bridge staff tend to be British / Irish / Dutch & French. From my experience, I find the Filipino crews better than the East European vessels. The Filipino's tend to more polite and courteous.



Re: Ulysses v Stena Adventurer Reply #4 on: November 25, 2017, 10:26:27 pm
Travelled recently on Ulysses.  Whilst still think she is overall better - specially built for route etc, it is clear hardly any money has been spent on her since she entered service, and she is dated inside now..

Decor boring, and why have such a small cafeteria boylan's place and then brioche doree small next door to each other?

Sten crew definitely better.  Lithunian crew ok, but different culture sticks out a mile on Annwyl irish ship - Irish ways are best say Irish ferries - what a joke of a comment if you employ foreign staff and register in Limassol.

THe upper lounge is now out of use to Club Class only.

The bar is big but a bit dark and boring.

Indeed the whole ship is rather dark.

Exit to outside deck is not easy.

Announcements poor.

Food limited and expensive.

Booked an EV charging point on board but not given one and no apologies given.

Unloading form ship took 40 minutes and a further 30 minutes exiting port - with no security or id check..  This mainly fault of Stena Ports.

Holyhead port is a mess - HSS parts everywhere- poorly marked out lines, long distance to berths, poor car and foot pax embarkation procedures.  Stena staff now appear to be parking near old hss berth.  No foot pax gangways.




Re: Ulysses v Stena Adventurer Reply #5 on: November 28, 2017, 10:02:05 pm
 We travelled by boat this summer to the UK for the first time since the HSS left these shores in 2014.  Travelled to Pembroke from Rosslare and back via the Ulyses.  More impressed with the Innishmore than the Ulyses.

Trouble with going on the largest car ferry in the world is that it took a blinkin' age to unload - found ourselves on some highish deck exiting through a kind of doorway which cars had to leave in single file.  And there were others stuck higher than us whose ramps could only be lowered once we'd gone.  And this was on a Monday.

Once got a birth on the Adventurer travelling overnight, and was quite impressed with the level of comfort.  Free cinemas for the youngsters too.  So if I had to choose, I'd go with the Adventurer.  However, don't really bother too much anymore with ferry travel since they stopped sailing to Holyhead out of my local harbour.  :(
« Last Edit: November 28, 2017, 10:07:39 pm by Fast Ferry Fan »



Re: Ulysses v Stena Adventurer Reply #6 on: November 28, 2017, 10:43:20 pm
Had my first visit to Holyhead in nearly a decade for a sailing on the Adventurer today, some of my thoughts would be..

Holyhead needs a serious tidy up, lots of old HSS docking equipment just left lying around the Stena waiting area, on the dock also the drive to the Adventurer on T5 was very badly marked, this is a daily route not temporary.

Driving to the boat the road goes from two lanes behind the HSS ramp to one lane, car in front of me was nearly forced into barrier by a truck.

Getting to T5 was just luck, no visible signs on the ground to lead you to the ferry.

As a non regular Holyhead visitor, I was amazed that at the condition of the port area, given the volume of traffic.

I had been looking for the two waterjets left from the Explorer spare parts, did get a kick to see them on the way to the ferry.

My first trip on the Adventurer was a pleasant surprise, very impressed with the onboard experience, was Stena Plus and had a cabin, so got to experience the Plus lounge which was much bigger than on the Europe but amazingly has one coffee machine versus two on the Europe, quality of food and service was equal to Stena Europe which I rate as A1 First Class.

Cabin was a two berth with window which was clean and tidy with a great shower, again very impressed and the tv was a nice addition. I know most people would not book a cabin and Plus, Plus lounge would have been a lovely place to spend the crossing, I had a seat right over the bow ramp with a great view of the Irish Sea.

Had a quick look around the rest of deck 8&9 and was surprised to see a lounge on deck 9 up with the cabins, it was closed, I imagine this rarely opens.

Amazed that the deck 8 shop is small, would think the Europe shop is way bigger, and offers a better display.

Outside deck space, was plentiful once you cleared the smokers at the doors but offers a different experience common to all modern ferries from the older style boats.

I did not venture down to deck 7 except to visit guest services and this did seem very nice and great views over the bow again.

I am unlikely to ever travel on the Big U, but would have no hesitation in reccomending the Adventurer especially if the budget stretches to a Premium ticket.

However given the choice between Adventurer and Europe, I would still pick the Europe, obviously if the different ports are not an issue.



Re: Ulysses v Stena Adventurer Reply #7 on: November 29, 2017, 11:48:49 am
I cannot agree more regarding the comments on Holyhead Port.  I complained to Stena Line following a recent trip, but they thought the lanes and signposting for the terminal was good enough and didn't seem interested.

I have to disagree, the lanes merge into each other in a very unclear way, HSS parts are everywhere - saw the water jets but also parts of the berth are elsewhere.

No id or customs check on exiting, but took over 30 minutes from leaving ship to exiting because of congestion.   This after 40 minutes on ship itself.

Facilities for foot passengers abysmal.

Considering this is the second biggest ro ro port in the uk after Dover, it is totally unacceptable.

The place has evolved without clear design.  It needs a long term plan and separation of incoming and outgoing traffic. 

Get it ship shape Stena and don't trick yourself into thinking Holyhead's anything but an embarrassment.




Re: Ulysses v Stena Adventurer Reply #8 on: November 30, 2017, 12:19:39 pm
I cannot agree more regarding the comments on Holyhead Port.  I complained to Stena Line following a recent trip, but they thought the lanes and signposting for the terminal was good enough and didn't seem interested.

I have to disagree, the lanes merge into each other in a very unclear way, HSS parts are everywhere - saw the water jets but also parts of the berth are elsewhere.

No id or customs check on exiting, but took over 30 minutes from leaving ship to exiting because of congestion.   This after 40 minutes on ship itself.

Facilities for foot passengers abysmal.

Considering this is the second biggest ro ro port in the uk after Dover, it is totally unacceptable.

The place has evolved without clear design.  It needs a long term plan and separation of incoming and outgoing traffic. 

Get it ship shape Stena and don't trick yourself into thinking Holyhead's anything but an embarrassment.


I believe plans are afoot for a reorganisation of Holyhead port now that the inner harbour is no longer used for ferries.



Re: Ulysses v Stena Adventurer Reply #9 on: November 30, 2017, 04:58:19 pm
Good, it would make sense to fill in the inner harbour and use the salt island berth.  No doubt Stena will seek EU/Welsh Government funding before it pays for anything itself.

Would also make sense for one terminal in Dublin for Irish and Stena



Re: Ulysses v Stena Adventurer Reply #10 on: December 02, 2017, 01:30:33 am
I cannot agree more regarding the comments on Holyhead Port.  I complained to Stena Line following a recent trip, but they thought the lanes and signposting for the terminal was good enough and didn't seem interested.

I have to disagree, the lanes merge into each other in a very unclear way, HSS parts are everywhere - saw the water jets but also parts of the berth are elsewhere.

No id or customs check on exiting, but took over 30 minutes from leaving ship to exiting because of congestion.   This after 40 minutes on ship itself.

Facilities for foot passengers abysmal.

Considering this is the second biggest ro ro port in the uk after Dover, it is totally unacceptable.

The place has evolved without clear design.  It needs a long term plan and separation of incoming and outgoing traffic. 

Get it ship shape Stena and don't trick yourself into thinking Holyhead's anything but an embarrassment.
That very much depends on what measure you use.  Perhaps I'm being a little pedantic, but in terms of total tonnage of Roro goods handled, Holyhead isn't even in the top 5 with its single scheduled route.  Behind the likes of Grimsby and Immingham, London, Liverpool, and even Belfast!
https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/646188/port-freight-statistics-2016-revised.pdf

I agree though that redevelopment at Holyhead can't come soon enough.  Though I do enjoy looking at the HSS nozzles!

Good, it would make sense to fill in the inner harbour and use the salt island berth.  No doubt Stena will seek EU/Welsh Government funding before it pays for anything itself.

Would also make sense for one terminal in Dublin for Irish and Stena
As would any sensible company to be honest, so why shouldn't Stena?  Its not like other ferry or port operation companies have never got government or EU funding.  Should ICG hand back the €75m loan from the EU they are using to finance the construction of W. B. Yeats?  What about the €100m loan given to Dublin Port to finance the Alexandria Basin redevelopment, or the funding the EU gave them to conduct capacity studies at Dublin? 

The delays with the waterfront redevelopment can't have helped, nor the almost inevitable involvement of railtrack in any scheme (who were said to have wanted in the region of £15m IIRC for works associated with the redevelopment of the port).  Will it be a case of when Stena do propose a redevelopment it'll get bogged down in years of objections and legal wrangling?  I'm sure they could make good use of all the wasted space in the port, for example with warehousing.  To be fair to Stena they have invested heavily in Holyhead over the past few decades since taking over Sealink.  Yes they have had some help from public funds, but doesn't just about every business making a major investment these days?
Steve in Belfast (suburbia)

Flickr: www.flickr.com/tarbyonline



Re: Ulysses v Stena Adventurer Reply #11 on: December 19, 2017, 06:52:44 pm
Irish Ferries do a great job making people think their boat made in Finland crewed by mostly Eastern Europeans sailing on a flag of convenience is some sort of Irish symbol of pride.  What is better depends on what you want from a ferry.  Nothing wrong with crews on either boat.



Re: Ulysses v Stena Adventurer Reply #12 on: December 28, 2017, 11:03:05 pm
I would choose Stena Adventurer, I particularly like the outside deck space, she performs well in rough weather and the fact you can get on/off pretty quick is a bonus.

I travel through Holyhead Port a lot and the layout has become the norm for me over the years but I do agree with comments/reviews, the port does need to be be improved.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2017, 11:29:07 pm by HSS »



Re: Ulysses v Stena Adventurer Reply #13 on: February 01, 2018, 07:53:24 pm
Ulysses  out of action. .rudder problems again...first  year not to go to drydock .Divers down today ..Adventurer four hours late due to weather and a failed bow thruster in holyhead last night ..although the the thruster is back



Re: Ulysses v Stena Adventurer Reply #14 on: February 01, 2018, 07:58:15 pm
Thanks for the info. Adventurer must be fairly full.