Portsmouth says bon voyage as Wightlink’s St Cecilia retires to Italy – after a million miles spent on the Solent

WIGHTLINK will bid a sad farewell to its oldest ferry, St Cecilia, which will start a new life in Sardinia.

Wednesday, 16th January 2019, 8:49 am
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 5:12 pm
The familiar sight of St Cecilia arriving into Portsmouth

Like many in the autumn of life she will be retiring to the warmer climes of the Mediterranean.

After her final trip on Friday, January 25 She will be joining her sisters St Helen and St Catherine in operating services between sunny Sardinia and its offshore islands. 

Wightlink chief executive, Keith Greenfield, said: ‘Millions of Islanders and visitors have travelled to and from the Isle of Wight over the years on St Cecilia and she has been a reliable and efficient part of our fleet. We are delighted she will now be sailing in Mediterranean waters.’

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St Cecilia was launched at Cochrane Shipbuilders in Selby, East Yorkshire in 1987 and it is estimated she has since crossed the Solent 200,000 times  – around a million miles.

During her distinguished career she has gained fame with guest appearances in the BBC TV children’s programme Grange Hill and the French movie A Loving Father, starring Gérard Depardieu.

When Cecilia made her inaugural voyage on 23 March 1987, Mel and Kim were riding high at number one with their hit single, Respectable, and Micky Quinn was Pompey’s top goalscorer with an impressive 28 goals securing promotion to the top flight.

In the 32 years Cecilia has served the city, Pompey have seen three promotions, four relegations and won the FA cup. The city has also gained university status and the Council governance has changed hands on seven occasions.

Cecilia was one of Wightlink’s four Saint-class ferries, sailing between Portsmouth and Fishbourne. She was built to carry 142 cars and 700 passengers.

She will make her final Solent journey following Wightlink’s £45m purchase of a new hybrid energy flagship – Victoria of Wight.

There are still tickets available for passengers to say a fond farewell on Cecilia’s final journey. Her final voyage will depart Portsmouth at 10.30am with the return journey from Fishbourne departing at 11.30am on Friday, January 25.