Over the last fortnight, Wightlink staff have been working hard on the finishing touches to make Victoria of Wight the most luxurious Isle of Wight ferry ever – and she’s the most environmentally friendly too. Powered by hybrid energy, she uses a combination of battery power and conventional engines to link Portsmouth and Fishbourne with minimal emissions and more quietly than the rest of the fleet.
Victoria of Wight can carry 178 cars and more than 1,000 passengers (and there’s a seat for everyone!). There are Wight Taste and Costa Coffee outlets onboard, together with a children’s play area, gaming area and a range of comfortable seating including panoramic lounges at the front of both passenger decks.
Wightlink’s CEO, Keith Greenfield, promised in an interview with Island Echo that Victoria of Wight would enter service before the end of the month and, true to his word, he welcomed the first customers aboard on the 10:30 sailing from Portsmouth to Fishbourne this morning.
The Francis family from Hammersmith, London were the first customers to drive onto the new ferry. They are staying in a cottage in Brading for a week.
John Francis says:
“When we booked our family holiday we had no idea we would be one of the first to travel on such an impressive ship. Victoria of Wight looks more like a cruise liner than a ferry.
“My wife Bernadette and I haven’t been to the Isle of Wight for many years and it will be Sam and Isobel’s first time. We’re definitely going to do the Red Squirrel trail by bike.”
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Wightlink Chief Executive Keith Greenfield adds:
“This is an important milestone for Wightlink and I was delighted to welcome our first customers on board this morning. Victoria of Wight brings a new era of modern and environmentally friendly transport to the Solent.”
Now Victoria of Wight has joined Wightlink’s fleet, she will be regularly carrying passengers. However, more crews need to be trained to operate her and this will take place on quieter midweek days this autumn when she will be withdrawn from regular service.