On July 19 Cork accommodated three ships in one day for the first time in its history, carrying about 7,000 passengers and crew.
At 0800 or thereabouts Holland America Line’s Rotterdam came alongside Cobh Cruise Terminal, P&O Cruises’ Azura berthed at Ringaskiddy Deepwater Berth and Saga’s Spirit of Adventure docked at North Custom House Quay in Cork City.
Captain Michael McCarthy, commercial manager Port of Cork, said: “Being capable to accommodate three liners together shows the excellent cruise facilities Cork has and the services we can offer to cruise line companies.”
This year 54 calls are expected in Cork including the maiden call of Cunard Line’s Queen Elizabeth in September.
Princess Cruises’ Princess Dawn called on her Sydney to Sydney round the world trip on July 24. Carrying mostly Australian passengers, Cobh Tourism put on an ‘Australia Day’ to welcome the visitors from down under.
Australian Ambassador Bruce Davies officiated at the Blessing of the Bonnets ceremony. ‘Roses from the heart’ is a unique memorial to the 25,566 convict women transported to Australia from Ireland and Britain from 1788 to 1853 and was just one of the events taking place that day.
Back in May Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Eclipse paid an overnight visit departing as Royal Caribbean International’s Independence of the Seas arrived, also for an overnight call. A total of 10,000 passengers and crew visited during that weekend.
In 2012 more calls are expected. Cork aims to increase its annual call numbers to 75 in the next five years. Dermot O’Mahoney, Port of Cork chairman, said: “The cruise business is not only beneficial to the Port of Cork, but has a huge economic contribution to the local economy also.”