The HSS concept was an evolutionary dead end, a bit like passenger/car ferry hovercraft. The ships themselves were tacky and had had every milligram of the maritime experience squeezed out of them - terrible outside deck space and the interior was like a floating burger bar. They had the ambience of a downmarket Burger King. Stena Line are a fine shipping company and their more recent vessels are very good indeed, particularly the Superfasts and the Stena Lagan and Mersey. But they dropped a clanger with the HSS concept and the sooner they are turned into baked bean cans on the shelves of Tesco the better.
Absolutely, I couldn't agree more! I've posted before that they were the concord of the seas. Like every fast craft before them, they were scuppered as soon as the cost of oil
rocketed. Then we had the Stena Discovery being damaged by a freak wave and a lorry falling out of it and to the bottom of the North Sea, with no conventional ships at the time to cover for its absence. As I recall, passengers were sent to Dover instead. Unless and until you can get a propulsion system with vastly reduced fuel costs and a hull which is much more robust, these craft are just vanity projects. I don't doubt for a moment the marvel of marine engineering the HSS represents, or the reduced journey time, but it's conventional tonnage all the way for me.
I would also be interested to know whether Stena has in any way recouped the total value of the investment with the three HSS 1500 and the smaller 900. I doubt it.
Your Burger King analogy is quite apt as it is a little known fact that Stena held the Burger King franchise in Sweden and, I think, other Scandinavian countries in the late 1980s. It was disposed of around the same time as the ill-fated British Columbia Stena Line project at the time when James Sherwood forced Stena to pay over the odds for Sealink British Ferries in 1990.