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  • mykesickler409

Stena Adventurer

Updated: Jun 19

At the time of writing Stena Line had introduced a special £10 round trip, non landing ticket where one would embark the vessel, travel to Ireland and remain aboard prior to returning to the UK on the same ship thereby allowing passengers to travel without the need of isolating or having PCR tests owing to Covid-19. One could also stock up on some shopping taking advantage of new allowances following Brexit.


Having never travelled aboard this vessel, the Stena Adventurer, I though it a good opportunity to check her out and share my thoughts with you.


Please grab a cuppa, curl up and relax and allow me to take you from #a2bviasea aboard this large, powerful looking ship.



Having passed through the numerous formalities at Holyhead ferry terminal; a spacious and clean facility with plenty of seating, vending machines providing hot and cold beverages along with light snacks, hire car company, two long stay car parks and a railway station next door, upon entering the departure lounge foot passengers are segregated.


Those foot passengers who are disembarking the vessel in Dublin are asked to board one shuttle bus to take them to the ship whilst those who intend to remain aboard and return to Holyhead without disembarking in Ireland are asked to board another bus.


The journey from the terminal to the berth takes approximately five minutes - the shuttle busses boarding the vessel on deck 5. Proceeding along the vehicle deck I am astonished as to the shire size of this cavernous space - it is HUGE!


The picture below shows how much of this vessel is dedicated to vehicles and freight.



Vehicle deck 5 - you can just make out the headlights of the other shuttle bus in the distance!






Below - the outside vehicle deck on level 7


Those passengers who are disembarking in Dublin are 'dropped off' adjacent to the 'red' stairs on the port side of the vehicle deck and those remaining aboard are taken to the 'green' stairs opposite on the starboard side.


I am completely at odds to fathom why passengers are separated in this way as we are going to be spending the next four hours together aboard the ship, albeit a big ship, but if these protocols are required to enable passengers to travel, so be it. I am SO grateful Stena Line is providing this round trip/non landing trip and long may it continue.


Ascending the 'green stairs' I am immediately struck by how well maintained the stairwell is - no scuff marks from shoes on the stairs, the attractive chrome and brass handrails were polished and the wall coverings were in good order. First impressions DO count so this is a good sign.



Passenger facilities are located on decks 7 through to 9. Let's go for an explore.



Now, I have never been aboard this vessel before and I deliberately did no research prior to booking as I wanted an un-bias view and I wanted to just wander around and 'happen upon' the facilities just like holiday makers or day trippers would. This way I will be able to ascertain if the facilities were in convenient locations and whether the decks 'flowed'.


Having arrived on Deck 7 the corridor turns the corner and directs me forward - I was pleased to see a large plan of the vessel on the bulkhead to my left. Excellent! At least I can see what facilities are aboard and I can get my barings.



I enter the very large Barister Coffee Bar - the (closed) counter is centrally located facing forward with the vast seating area (cordoned off) opposite. No sea views or natural light are offered as a lounge is on the port side, the Hygge Lounge forward and shop to starboard - all receiving the natural light from the windows..


The décor of the Barister Coffee outlet is simple and inoffensive with plenty of beige and light brown tones with hard flooring on the aisles with localised carpeting within the main seating area.




The starboard side shop, which is open at certain times during the voyage, is very bright owing to the large windows, artificial overhead lighting and the primary colour scheme within being white. Large display windows entice passengers into the shop where cigarettes, wine and beer are available for purchase at reasonable prices.



Hygge Lounge can be accessed at a cost of around £10 depending on whether your ticket is purchased at the time of booking your ferry crossing (which saves you a few pounds) or done aboard.


It offers magnificent views over the bow from the comfortable forward facing reclining seats. Access is via a security door on the portside - a full width partially obscured frosted glass screen divides this facility from the Barister Coffee outlet allowing privacy for those within.



The lounge on the port side is divided from the Barister outlet by a half height 'shelving unit' with planters. Being fully carpeted with comfortable seating, excellent views of the sea and with numerous wall mounted TV's this is a good place to relax however, on some crossings this facility is cordoned off preventing access.




The ships' reception is located on the port side opposite the 'red' stairs which is also used for embarkation of foot passengers. Open throughout the voyage the staff within are very polite friendly and courteous. I was particularly impressed with the 'touch screen' computer where you can find the facilities aboard either by searching deck by deck or by clicking on the facility you are looking for. Opposite there are three wall mounted screens surrounded by a (plastic) 'living' wall of shrubs - rather contradictory but it looks attractive.





Slightly aft just past the reception is the Commercial Drivers Lounge/dining room. This area is of course out of public view however, having a sneaky peak it appears the drivers are very well looked after.





Going back to the reception, access to the exterior deck is off the 'red' stairs. The smokers area is along the port side promenade adjacent to the life boats. Walking aft parallel to the Commercial Drivers Restaurant windows we come to a large enclosed void space. My only assumption is this area is used as a giant Muster Station for passengers in the event of an emergency owing to the large amount of life jacket lockers.




It is possible to continue walking aft along the port side towards the large funnel as access to the exterior deck above can be obtained from here. Unfortunately it is not possible to go down the other side (starboard).





Let's go back to the reception and ascend the 'red' stairs up to Deck 8.

As I head up the stairs my eyes are fixated on the attractive chrome & brass handrails and glass screening. I love the attention to detail.




Arriving on Deck 8 I notice a large wall mounted deck plan showing the facilities available to passengers - very much appreciated. Let's circumnavigate this deck.




Turning left at the hall and walking forward / clockwise we come to the very large Stena Plus Lounge.





Accessed from the port side a vast wall of glass encapsulates this facility allowing unrestricted views inside which must entice passengers to treat themselves and obtain an entry ticket, though must surly be like being in a fish tank for those inside looking out?!




There is a small reception to the left as we enter and the large self service servery is to right where hot and cold beverages, snacks, cakes and bottled wine are all available for passengers to help themselves.


Paying the £20 entry fee one can certainly get their monies worth during the course of the +/- four hour crossing.


Below - the main entrance to Stena Plus with the adjacent reception desk behind the screen




Although very large and open plan there are secluded breakout areas to ensure some privacy which is particularly good if you are travelling for business and need to undertake some work, or perhaps if there are a group of persons travelling together who do not wish to be separated.


Within these breakout areas there are wall mounted TV screens primarily showing world news channels or sporting events.


Just look at the vast amount of natural light flooding into this lounge through the windows which are on three sides of this lounge.


Having a guided tour by one of the ships' receptionists I was advised this lounge has recently been extended to starboard incorporating what was a coffee shop - you can see the divide on the floor where the carpeting is different. It should be noted the internal deck plans have not been updated as yet and still show the coffee shop.


At the forward end of this new extension there is an area where further beverages and snacks can be obtained though due to Covid-19 regulations the number of persons which can enter Stena Plus is limited therefore this additional drinks station is not presently required.




Opposite Stena Plus is a large shop where a range of fragrances, gifts and souvenirs can be purchased. The shop is bigger than the picture below depicts as there is a secondary area through the glazed doors in the centre - a great place to do some browsing and pick up some bargains.




As the shop is centrally positioned, one can follow the corridor all the way around passing the 'green' stairs which gives access to the cinema complex above on Deck 9 and essentially do a lap back to the 'red' stairs where we entered this deck..




Between the 'red' stairs (port) and 'green' stairs (starboard) there is a wide hallway with toilet facilities and access to two gaming rooms.



One of these gaming rooms offers nine free standing traditional 'fruit machines' whilst the other offers more simulator style machines where you can ride a motorbike or 'grab a teddy'. Both arcades were barely utilised by passengers during the nine hour round trip to Ireland and back and it does make me wonder whether this would be a better location for the shop selling tobacco and alcohol, rather than down on Deck 7.


Feeling hungry? One dining room is available aboard - Taste Restaurant.


Sorry about the mayo - I was so hungry I started to eat before realising I need to take a photo for you.


Located amidships aft this facility it is huge! The vast seating arrangements comprise of bench sofas, stools and individual free standing chairs, all decorated in royal blue with pine coloured surrounds. Several children's high chairs are lined up along the starboard side if you need to use one - just help yourself or ask a member of staff for assistance.


Localised hard flooring flows through the facility like a gentle wave giving access to the servery located starboard side aft and faces forward. This hard flooring has panels laid port/starboard which makes this facility appear even larger.


A range of hot and cold beverages and a selection of light meals can be obtained at a reasonable price and if you are undertaking a Stena Line (non landing) round trip like myself, you are entitled to a small discount. Just mention to the cashier you are staying aboard.










To starboard there is a (closed off) children's playroom which, peering through the window, appears to consist of a range of soft padded play equipment. This area is closed owing to Covid-19.


Initially returning to the main port/starboard hall by the gaming arcade I happen to glance at the wall mounted deck plan. I realised to my surprise that behind Taste Restaurant there is a whole other area.......how did I miss that?!


Heading back to the servery and rounding the corner on the port side there is a large bar which flows around to the starboard side behind what I assume is the galley to Taste Restaurant.




Several large wall mounted TV's adorn the bulkheads and on one wall is a very large nine screen mini cinema which during my crossing was showing a live football game.



The 'Living Room' occupies the same space and believe me this is a great place to chill with a drink and watch the days events on TV.



Decorated in subtle pastel tones with a carpeted floor and localised planters this bar certainly isn't a loud, lively, party bar, but more a place to have a quiet relaxing drink with friends and family or perhaps make new friends with the people sitting nearby over a cold pint.


Those sitting adjacent to the windows on either side of the bar are slightly raised allowing views across the entire bar over the heads of those curled up in a comfortable oversized chair below whilst those sitting by the bar are perched even higher on their own stool directly opposite the nine screen 'cinema' with their drink resting on an illuminated glass table.


Within the bar and Living Room there are power sockets to charge your phone/laptop, etc. These comprise of both UK three pin and European two pin sockets so if you leave your adaptor at home, don't worry.


Below, if sitting by the windows you are guaranteed spectacular vistas, although I think I was particularly lucky with this sunset. Why would you travel any other way than by ferry?!



Deck 9 lends its self to a large amount of passenger, commercial and crew cabins.



I was given a comprehensive tour of this deck by a very friendly officer from the ship's main reception desk who kindly opened a few of the cabin doors for me to be able to show you what they are like inside.



All of the cabins I viewed offer private ensuite facilities (shower, WC, sink) with sheets and pillows for the beds as standard - as you would expect.


But, what I did not anticipate was the small TV, tea/coffee making facilities and direct dial telephone to the ships' reception! How good is that! The journey is only +/- four hours so having a cabin for such a relatively short journey is a luxury, but having these extras really is something special.


I thought the design of these cabins was excellent as the desk/vanity table sweeps around the cabin and becomes a bedside table - great use of space. Note the UK three pin power sockets.





Whether you think it is necessary to have a cabin for such a short journey or perhaps save some money and upgrade to the Stena Plus or Hygge Lounges instead is dependant on your personal needs. But if you do have a cabin, particularly one with a window, it is a shame the crossing is not a little longer to take full advantage as they really are comfortable.


Off the 'green' stairs is a small cinema complex consisting of three individual rooms, one of which being dedicated to children. However, owing to the fact these lounges cannot be sufficiently ventilated, all are presently closed off due to Covid-19.








Exterior decks are available on the port side of deck 8 adjacent to the funnel where some seating is available (note the starboard side not accessible)...............




.............and the port and starboard sides of deck 7 as shown earlier. For a vessel of this size this really is a small amount of exterior deck space but owing to very low passenger numbers these decks never became crowded.


In closing Stena Adventurer is a very large, solid and powerful looking Irish Sea ferry with a truly massive amount of vehicle deck space. Her passenger facilities were more extensive than I had imagined and although only occupying a fraction of the ship as per the picture below, were more than suitable for a journey of this length.



Her shopping facilities were more comprehensive than I had anticipated, the Stena Plus Lounge was very impressive ( I would recommend this to anyone), she has a large (informal) dining room, comfortable bar.....what else do you need............?


......ah yes, a beautiful sunset.........



A great ship for the route. Nice one Stena Line.