Irish Ferries cruise ferry W.B. Yeats has been ceremonially named and launched into the water.

Company representatives gathered alongside workers at the Flensburger Schiffbau–Gesellschaft in Flensburg, Germany, where the vessel is being built, to watch the launch.

The name, W.B.Yeats, was chosen after an online competition attracted nearly 100,000 entries from the public.

The 54,985 gross tonnes vessel, which cost €150 million to build, will arrive into Dublin in July when it will enter year-round service in Ireland – France and Dublin – Holyhead routes.

Before July, remaining construction work on the hull will be completed and the vessel will be fitted out with technical, operational, décor, furnishings and passenger amenities required on board.

Before it goes into service it will undergo sea trials, crew training and docking procedures at the Irish, UK and French ports into which it will operate.

The Flensburg shipyard will soon start building a second, larger cruise delivery in 2020 at a contract price of €165.2 million.

This second new vessel will be the largest cruise ferry in the world in terms of vehicle capacity with accommodation for 1,800 passengers and crew.