Last week some rather harsh comments were made about the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company's 2005 Timetable UK timetable.
However, much of what was posted appeared as a result of an immediate reaction to viewing the schedules.
Correspondence with various parties and messages posted on the Irish Sea Ships group reveal a more positive view of the new timings.
Whilst it is disappointing that few long day trips [mainly Wednesdays] are available from Liverpool next year, the provision of a shorter day trip on Saturdays, without the antisocial arrival time back at Liverpool has been welcomed by many. Speaking from a personal point of view I imagine that reasonable return time to Liverpool will probably result in me taking more trips to next year, rather than less.
If well marketed these Saturday timings might actually get more people to visit the Island, including people who may just be visiting Liverpool from further a field for a short break.
The earlier departure of the pm sailing from Douglas to Liverpool will probably attract more foot passengers as they will be able to make their way to Douglas during hours when public transport is operating. The 07:00 sailing to Liverpool departs Douglas too early for those who do not have access to their own vehicles or who do not wish to use them.
Equally the earlier arrival at Liverpool of the pm departure from Douglas [except Wednesdays] will mean that those seeking onward travel by public transport will be able to undertake these journeys with ease. The previous post midnight arrival meant that there was little alternative to expensive taxis or an overnight hotel stay before continuing a journey.
The Isle of Man Edition of the Timetable is now available this gives details of the seasonal services to Dublin and Belfast from Douglas.
Sailings to Belfast commence on Thursday March 24 and Dublin on Friday March 25.
From April the Belfast sailings will generally operate as follows: 07:00 on Sundays and 21:30 on Tuesdays. Return sailings from Belfast will be 10:30 on Sundays and 01:00 on Wednesday morning.
Dublin sailings will generally operate on Wednesdays at 14:00 and 21:30 on Fridays. These return at 17:30 on Wednesdays and 01:00 on Saturday.
Crossing times are 2h:45m to Belfast and 2h:50m to Dublin
The final SuperSeaCat sailings of the season to Belfast will be on September 25 and Dublin on September 28.
LADY OF MANN will operate the Irish October Bank Holiday weekend sailings and Christmas Holiday sailings on October 28 /31 and December 21/28. Crossing times 4h:45m.
Time ashore day trips to Dublin are possible on the Christmas Holiday period sailings.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR ENTHUSIASTS
The new timetable offers an interesting opportunity for ship enthusiasts who would like to get in some serious travel Irish Sea travel in just one day. This trip can be undertaken on Summer Sundays and would follow the following itinerary:
02:15 Heysham > Douglas - BEN-MY-CHREE
07:00 Douglas > Belfast -SUPERSEACAT TWO
10:30 Belfast > Douglas - SUPERSEACAT TWO
Followed by an afternoon cruise on Laxey Towing Company's KARINA therefore you would have to choose a Sunday with pm tide for this section of the trip. Afternoon departures are usually around 14:00
Return would be on the 19:45 BEN-MY-CHREE sailing to Heysham.
The full cost of this trip would depend on the LAXEY TOWING company fare but would probably be in the region of £60 plus a day's car parking at Heysham.