STENA Line’s newest ferry Stena Estrid arrived in Holyhead this week after a five-week 10,000 mile journey from the AVIC Weihai Shipyard in north-western China, where she was built.

The first of five next generation Stena Line RoPax vessels to be completed at the shipyard, Stena Estrid sailed into the Anglesey port following a brief stop in Dublin for a successful berthing trial.

Now Estrid will undergo final preparations before starting service on the Holyhead to Dublin route in mid-January.

Manned by a much-reduced crew of 27, with no passengers on board, Estrid has just completed an incredible voyage of well over 10,000 miles, with a number of stops along the way to refuel and stock up on fresh provisions.

The first stage of the journey was a 2,657 nautical miles trip to Singapore, from where she progressed through the Malacca Straits to Galle in Sri Lanka, before crossing the Indian Ocean and making its way up through the Suez Canal.

A trip across the Mediterranean Sea took Stena Estrid to Algeciras where she was joined by onboard sales and services crew members to undertake familiarisation training during the final leg of her journey, which saw her travel through the Atlantic Ocean and across the Bay of Biscay before finally arriving at her new home in Holyhead.

Speaking on arrival in Holyhead, Senior Master Matthew Lynch said: “After six years of planning and construction, and five weeks of sailing around the world, it’s hard to believe that we’re finally here in Holyhead.

“It’s been an amazing journey for all of us and I must say that I’m blown away by Estrid - from the way she looks, the quality of the build and finish, the facilities on board and, of course, how she handles herself at sea.

“Anyone who knows me knows that my expectations are always very high and Estrid has far exceeded them!

"I’ve worked on passenger vessels for 24 years - seven on cruise ships and 17 on ferries - and this ship really is revolution not evolution.

“During our 10,000-mile trip, she’s been smooth, quiet, comfortable and very capable - performing well in all the conditions we faced.

"Now, we are so excited to be ‘home’ and look forward to welcoming the rest of my crew on board to see their reaction to Estrid! I am confident they will be just as impressed as I am with the ship.

“We really cannot wait to see how the ship is received by our guests when we embark on our maiden voyage to Dublin in a few weeks’ time. I believe they are going to be blown away by it!”

At 215 metres in length, Stena Estrid has the space to carry 120 cars and 1,000 passengers, with a freight capacity of 3,100 lane meters, meaning a 50 per cent increase in freight tonnage.

A further two of the new ferries are also destined for the Irish Sea with Stena Edda expected to commence operations from Liverpool to Belfast next spring, and a third vessel Stena Embla to be introduced on the same route in early 2021.

The introduction of these two ships will increase freight capacity on the Liverpool to Belfast route by 20 per cent.