A controversial economy ferry running from Pembrokeshire to Ireland will be replaced by a more passenger friendly vessel it has been confirmed.

Irish Ferries put the charter ferry the Norbay on the Pembroke to Rosslare run at the end of January this year.

The Norbay, an economy ferry has limited passenger facilities in the form of a simple restaurant and bar, a basic shop/reception desk, and two bed standard en-suite cabins.

Irish Ferries says that the ship is unsuitable for travellers with a disability or reduced mobility, or young children and buggies, as there are no lifts to the main passenger area and access is by steep staircase only.

Importantly, the 17.464 tonne vessel does not take foot passengers or cyclists and, according to NI Ferry Site only has space for 114 passengers.

The vessel stands in stark contrast to its predecessor the Oscar Wilde which left Pembroke to be put on the Holyhead to Dublin Route.

The Oscar Wilde is described as the ‘largest duty-free shop to sail the Irish Sea’. She has the largest passenger capacity of any vessel on the Irish Sea and can take 2,080 passengers and has 131 cabins providing berths for 520 passengers.

She has space for 2,380lm of freight, separate facilities for freight drivers as well as a large duty-free shop, a Club Class lounge, self-service restaurant, an a la carte restaurant, a bar, gaming facilities, pet facilities and a children’s play area.

Irish Ferries announced this week that, although the Oscar Wilde is not returning to the Pembroke to Rosslare route, the Norbay will be replaced by a more traveller friendly ferry; the Isle of Innisfree.

The roll on- roll off cruise ferry was built in 1992 by the Boelwerf shipyard in Belgium and has the capacity to carry up to 1,140 passengers, 83 freight vehicles or 600 cars.

The ship offers a host of quality facilities for freight drivers and passengers including Boylan’s Brassiere self-service restaurant, Café Lafayette, a Club Class lounge, onboard duty-free shop, children’s play area and spacious outdoor decks. A freight driver’s lounge and cabins complete the accommodation.

It is not yet clear when she will come into service on the Pembroke-Rosslare run. Searches on the Irish Ferries website give the economy ferry continuing to run between Pembrokeshire and Ireland for the duration of the school summer holidays.

Irish Ferries has said that there 'currently no scheduled commencement date for the Isle of Innisfree beginning on this route'.

Andrew Sheen, Managing Director at Irish Ferries, said: “The addition of the Isle of Innisfree on the Rosslare Pembroke route is a sign of our ongoing commitment to these routes, and ensuring we offer our freight and passenger customers quality service for these important connections between Britain and Ireland.

“We look forward to welcoming passengers on board to experience our award-winning hospitality and service.”