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New Cruise Europe Member: Derry/Londonderry Attracts Eight Callers

4th July 2017
Hebridean Princess departing Derry/Londonderry Hebridean Princess departing Derry/Londonderry Photo: FoylePort

#Cruiseliners - Last year Derry/Londonderry welcomed nine callers and 3,727 passengers visiting the 17th walled city according to CruiseEurope.com

This year there are eight booked bringing 4,697 on vessels including those from Princess Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Saga and Noble Caledonia.

An on-pier welcome greets every ship and the aim is to make every passenger feel like a VIP whilst visiting. A complimentary, regular shuttle bus is offered to those wanting to explore the city independently.

There are two berths in the city centre, Queen’s Quay/Meadowbank with a maximum length of 135m, beam of 22m, draught of 6m (tidal) and air draught of 32m. Seven miles away there are two berths at the commercial port, Lisahally, where the maximum length is 195m, beam 29m, draught 7.5m and air draught 41m (tidal).

The tender port of Greencastle is 20 miles away. Here the maximum length is 325m and draught 11.25m. Foyle Port in Londonderry in partnership with Donegal County Council has commissioned a feasibility study to explore the deepwater potential at Greencastle tender port.

The proposed new cruise terminal will have the capability to safely berth the largest cruise vessels in the world without any tidal restrictions. A number of short-term developments are also in progress for Greencastle including additional pontoons to accommodate more tenders and increased space for coaches.

Less than a one-hour from Derry are UNESCO world heritage site, the Giant’s Causeway, and Bushmills whiskey distillery, the oldest licensed distillery in the world. County Donegal which is home to some of the finest links golf courses in Europe, for example the Royal Portrush Golf Club which will host the British Open in 2019.

The team at Visit Derry will work with cruiselines “to create authentic, memorable and exclusive shore excursions, ensuring a ‘LegenDerry’ experience for passengers!”, according to Aoife McHale, business & leisure tourism officer Visit Derry. For example, why just listen to an Irish music ‘trad’ session when you can pick up a ‘bodhran’ (Irish drum) and play? The association facilitates complimentary site visits for cruiseline shore excursion and port operations planners.

The top attraction is a guided tour of the city which, for passengers, is enhanced by adding animated characters and period re-enactments at various intervals. A themed literary tour is another option. Local academics can deliver lectures onboard, or in the city, on topics including Irish history, peace & conflict resolution and genealogy for special interest cruises.

Tours are varied, for example Derry was a base for the US Marines during World War II and the Battle of the Atlantic. Visit Derry, in partnership with a local Blue Badge Guide, has developed a WWII themed tour of the city complete with a vintage WWII-themed tea dance if time permits. Passengers can enjoy the 4th of July Independence Day celebrations at the Ulster American Folk Park or visit key locations where HBO series Game of Thrones was filmed.

Visit Derry will provide friendly ‘Welcome Host’ trained tourist information staff who will go on-board with visitor guides and maps and can arrange anything from private taxi tours and lunch reservations to hovercraft experiences and helicopter tours.

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