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Displaying items by tag: Cruise Liners

#25mOffshorePool- Mein Schiff 4, the newest in a series of 99,500 tonnes cruiseships for German premium-class operator, TUI Cruises, made her maiden call offshore of Dun Laoghaire Harbour this morning, writes Jehan Ashmore.

As previously reported on, the large cruiseship Mein Schiff which cost $625 million, called to Belfast Harbour yesterday, as part of her inaugural 11-day cruise of Britain & Ireland that is to return to Hamburg. The visit today of the 2,506 passenger / 1,030 crew Mein Schiff involved anchoring off Dun Laoghaire and marks the final cruiseship of this summer. For a list of cruise season 2016, reveals by clicking here.

To give an impression of how long Mein Schiff 4 is, it would take a cruise-goer to swim almost 12 lengths on board the newbuilds notable 25m long swimming to match the ship’s overall length (LOA) of 294m. These large pools, are the first to feature on any cruiseship, that began with the newbuild’s sister, Mein Schiff 3 the leadship of a series that was delivered in 2013.

The swimming pool on Mein Schiff 4 is located on deck 12, however cruise-goers do have alternative choice of an indoor pool with a whirlpool. On a related but separate matter, is Dun Laoghaire Harbour's €2.5 million heated floating swimming pool inspired by the 'Badeschiff' in Berlin, which is to be constructed using a converted river barge at the East Pier following planning permission granted by An Bord Pleanála last year.

The ‘Urban Beach’ is a joint venture of Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council which in addition to the swimming pool (using treated seawater) is to feature an artificial beach, a cafe, changing area and other facilities. For a visual impression of the amenity to be built on the East Pier, click here.

It is off the East Pier's pierhead, is where the Mein Schiff 4 arrived to anchor and only within one nautical mile offshore. A fleet of her tenders are ferrying German speaking passengers to and fro to the harbour's cruise-pontoon located in the Coal Harbour.

Asides the swimming pool, there’s also a basketball court and sea views which can be seen from saunas, a feature that is not surprising given her Scandinavian builders, Meyer Turku, previously STX Finland that also built the leadship, Mein Schiff 3.

The introduction last month of the 15 deck newbuild Mein Schiff (clearly translating to ‘My Ship 4!) is for the German speaking market and where her guests have a wide choice of facilities with 11 restaurants and bistros, 11 bars and lounges. Among her entertainment options the outdoor arena is where a large LED is located as well as a cinema.

Mein Schiff boosts TUI’s fleet passenger total to 6,342 berths. She alone has accommodation for 1,253 cabins, of those 90% are outside and in which 82% feature balconies that can be up to 24m² in size.

For the added ultra-luxury of space and privacy are ten ‘Himmel und Meer Suiten’ (Sky & Sea Suites) that occupy an impressive two decks coupled with a 29m²roof terrace exclusively to client’s use.

TUI Cruises was formed in 2008 in a joint venture between TUI AG and Royal Caribbean Ltd.

Additional sisters are on order from Meyer Turku, part of the German shipyard group. They are to replace an existing pair of cruiseships Mein Schiff 2 and 3 (orginally from another operator) when they transfer to UK brand, Thompson Cruises.

#NewCruiseVisitor – Belfast Harbour which expects 115,000 cruise-goers by end of season, welcomed a first time visitor this morning, the new Mein Schiff 4 which operates in the premium –German cruise market for TUI Cruises, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Mein Schiff 4 made the short overnight passage to Belfast from Greenock on the Clyde as part of an 11-day round trip cruise from Hamburg. She docked on the south bank downriver of the iconic H&W dockyards and neighbouring Titanic Quarter which has proved global visitor attraction appeal. Last year, Belfast Harbour achieved a record total of 114,000 cruise passengers.

The $625m newbuild of 99,500 tonnes was completed in late 2014 and is the second of series built in Finland. In fast she was completed only two days after the STX Finland Oy’s yard in Turku was taken over by German-owners to form the Meyer Turku yard in south-west Finland. She began her career carrying out several cruises last month to Baltic and Scandinavian capitals.

Since the introduction of the 15 deck cruiseship catering for the German-speaking market, Mein Schiff 4 (clearly translating to ‘My Ship 4’) has boosted TUI’s fleet passenger total to 6,342 berths.

She has a capacity for 2,506 passengers accommodated in 1,253 cabins in which 90% are outside and 82% feature cabins. Of those equipped with cabins, they are up to24 m² in size. In all, the newcomer offers 23 categories, which demonstrates a wide choice in the cruise industry.

Among her facilities are 11 restaurants and bistros, 11 bars and lounges. Among her recreational options, there’s a basketball course and sea views which can be seen from saunas.

She also boasts a first for the cruise industry, a 25m long swimming pool located on Deck 12. Elsewhere, is an indoor pool with a whirlpool when the weather is less favourable.

This evening Mein Schiff sets sail on a southbound course for Dun Laoghaire Harbour as previously reported on where the new cruiseship is to anchor tomorrow offshore and bring passengers ashore by tender craft.

TUI Cruises was formed in 2008 in a joint venture between TUI AG and Royal Caribbean Ltd. The final sister in the newer ‘Mein Schiff’ series is due for delivery in 2019.

Published in Belfast Lough

#SOSharbour - A campaign by the Save Our Seafront has vowed to ramp-up its efforts to prevent a jumbo cruise berth being developed in Dun Laoghaire harbour.

The Herald reports that an eight-year planning application for the cruise berth is being considered by An Bord Pleanala.

At a recent public meeting, campaigners decided their next course of action, after making submissions on the planning application.

"We hope that the planning route will be enough for us to stop this," People Before Profit TD, Richard Boyd Barrett said.

"But in the meantime we are encouraging people to write to Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe about the upcoming harbours bill," he added.

Legislation that is being processed at the moment could see the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company (DLHC) disbanded and the harbour brought under council control.

Mr Boyd Barret said that he will be seeking an amendment that would ensure that the harbour would be under the control of elected representatives.

Musician Christy Moore , who lives in Monkstown, has backed the campaign.

For more about the Appeal and the restoration of a ferry service to Holyhead in 2016, click here.

#CruiseSeason2016 – Following the debut visit to Dun Laoghaire this Friday of Mein Schiff 4, marking the end of the cruise season, can reveal the port's cruise call line-up for 2016, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Before we do, here is a brief introduction to the forthcoming debutant which cost $625m to build. Mein Schiff 4 features a 25m long swimming pool, basketball course and saunas with seas views. She was built at the Meyer Turku yard, Finland in late 2014. The 99,500 tonnes newbuild undertook her first cruise in August visiting destinations to Nordic ports.

She has a capacity for 2,506 passengers and 1,000 crew and Mein Schiff 4 is currently on a 11-day round trip cruise that departed last weekend from Hamburg. She is to anchor offshore off Dun Laoghaire from where her German clientele will be transferred by tender ashore.

This will be the first TUI Cruises call to the harbour in which the DLHC has attracted in recent years some of the world’s leading prestigious cruise operators to include Cunard, P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises.

Notably, Mein Schiff 1, albeit some 25,000 tonnes smaller than newcomer Mein Schiff 4, will be the only large cruiseship in 2016 out of 7 cruise callers in total so far confirmed to by the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company.

The deep-draft cruiseship will anchor offshore while the other six small sized cruiseships will be able to berth within the harbour at the Carlisle Pier.

The cruise total between this year and 2016, is considerable as a record 22 calls were scheduled for this year's season. Only around half of that figure was achieved as a spate of anchorage calls were cancelled as operators instead favoured to berth at Dublin Port.

Listed below is the schedule of cruise calls so far confirmed to Dun Laoghaire in 2016.

26th May    Mein Schiff 1

10th June   Sea Explorer 1

20th June   Star Legend

4th July      Wind Surf

9th Aug      Star Legend

30th Aug    Sea Explorer 1

31st Aug    Wind Surf

All of above cruiseships with the exception of Mein Schiff 4 are to berth at Carlisle Pier. The former ‘mail-boat’ / car-ferry terminal located at this pier became redundant in 1996 following introduction of Stena HSS operations. The fast-ferry service to Holyhead ceased service just over a year ago (on 9th September 2014) when the HSS Stena Explorer departed from St. Michaels Wharf.

Only small cruiseships currently use the berth at Carlisle Pier for the cruise industry that was revived by the DLHC in 2011, given the steady decline of the Stena HSS service as seen in recent years.

A controversial plan for a €30m cruise-berth to accommodate massive cruiseships inside Dun Laoghaire Harbour is currently in the process of An Bord Pleanala decision on planning permission.


#NewCruiseShip – A new cruiseship, Mein Schiff 4 with a capacity for 2,506 passengers and more than 1,000 crew is to make her Irish maiden cruise with a debut call offshore of Dun Laoghaire Harbour next week, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Operating the Finnish built 99,500 tonnes vessel launched in late 2014 for TUI Cruises, the Mein Schiff 4 (My Ship 4) is to call to Dun Laoghaire. She will make the inaugural Irish port of call for the German based joint venture tourist group.

Mein Schiff features a 25m swimming pool, basketball court, sauna with sea view and where her guests can expect to pay €5,495 for a suite on the 10-day cruise.

The visit of TUI Cruises has been welcomed by Dun Laoghaire Harbour as German tourists are to celebrate in the searching of a slice of their ‘Irishness’ and where traditional music session will greet the visitors ashore.

Also taking place this month is the annual Oktoberfest held in Dublin, where currently the German Navy tallship Gorch Fock is berthed as previously reported. Tours of the vessel are this Saturday, for further details visit the story.

Secondly, a corvette also from the German Navy is to call later this month to Dun Laoghaire. Afloat will have more on this in a separate report covered on our Naval Visitors page.

Returning to the cruise sector, unlike the previous giant white-hulled cruiseships, Mein Schiff 4 sports a deep blue hull with the company’s distinctive livery. This is conveyed through hand-written like script with words spread across her amidships.

She is the second of almost four identical sisters based on an order from Finnish yard, Meyer Turku.

The next pair, Mein Schiff 5 is due for delivery in 2016 and final sister, Mein Schiff 6 will follow in 2017. The yard was taken over by the German shipbuilder earlier this year, resulting in the end of the Finnish Government stake-holding.

The call of Mein Schiff 4 on 18 September, will represent the end of the 2015 season to Dun Laoghaire.

Earlier this year it had been expected the season would be record-breaking with 22 cruise calls, however the scheduled figure have been considerably reduced by around a half.

The reason for this spate of cancellations throughout the summer by the largest cruiseships, notably the majority from Princess Cruises 3,600 passenger Royal Princess which instead went to Dublin Port to avoid the issue of anchoring off Dun Laoghaire.

Such a process is time-consuming for operators in having to transfer passengers ashore to the south Dublin Bay harbour.

The Royal Princess had only made a once off call off Dun Laoghaire that launched the season in May. All of the subsequent 8 calls were cancelled and transferred to Dublin Port which was given the ‘green’ light to proceed with a €30m double cruise-berth terminal.

While, DLHC await planning permission for a €18m single cruise-berth facility, all was not lost as the harbour welcomed the return for the second time in recent years of the prestigious Cunard 148,500 tonne cruise-liner, Queen Mary 2 which called also in May.

Another positive for DLHC was the repeat calls this season by Windstar Cruises sail-assisted five-masted Wind Surf that docked inside the harbour.

Also making calls within the harbour arms at the Carlisle Pier was Windstar Cruises newly acquired Star Legend. She previously made an appearance last year when under the ownership of Seabourn Cruises.

#Newcomer - Hurtigruten's newest ship will be named ‘MS Spitsbergen’  after the largest island in the Svalbard Archipelago.

She joins the Norwegian explorer cruise company on the very northernmost part of the Nordic country where, in 1896, Hurtigruten’s founder Richard With first started explorer tourism in the Arctic.

The name was chosen following a competition in which more than 15,000 suggestions were submitted from all over the world. Erlend Baldersheim (33) from the village of Baldersheim, close to Bergen won the competition and will be the captain’s guest on a special sailing of MS Spitsbergen

Explorer tourism is a fast growing industry. MS Spitsbergen will join Hurtigruten’s global operations as the company now operates two ships offering guests unique nature and culture experiences around the poles as well as 11 ships along the Norwegian coast. In the high North, Hurtigruten now offer voyages around Greenland and Iceland, as well as around Spitsbergen. In the extreme South, Hurtigruten sail guests from South America to the waters around Antarctica.

MS Spitsbergen will initially replace MS Midnatsol on Hurtigruten’s traditional coastal route when she sails down to Antarctica in Autumn 2016. In future it is expected that the new addition will alternate between the coastal route and polar expeditions.

The newest addition to the fleet will have a capacity of 320 guests and 180 berths. The ship has modern common areas, making it possible to experience the spectacular polar scenery in comfortable surroundings.

Some statistics on MS Spitsbergen
· Built in 2009 by the Portuguese shipyard Estaleiro Navais de Viana do Castelo (ENVC).
· Number of guests: 320
· Total bunk capacity: 200
· Gross Tonnage: 7025
· Length: 97.53 m
· Width: 18 m
· Machine: Diesel Electric
· Speed: 17.4 knots

Afloat adds that the new Hurtigruten vessel was originally built to serve in the Azores, however this never materialised due to operators not accepting the vessel due to speed issues.

The Spitsbergen will be modified with works to include ice-strengthening of the hull and adaptions to her engines to assist in reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

Published in Cruise Liners

#DredgingConcerns- To attract big cruise ships involving separate proposals, An Taisce say they ‘should be assessed together’

According to The Irish Times, plans by Dublin Port to deepen its navigation channel and dump 10 million tonnes of silt at sea must be considered in conjunction with plans by Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company to dredge a navigation channel that involves dumping in the same area.

An Taisce voiced concern in a submission to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asking that the cumulative effects of both dredging and dumping schemes be examined.

Both Dublin Port and Dún Laoghaire are deepening their navigations in rival bids to capture cruise business from larger ships. Dublin Port is also seeking to reconfigure its facilities to create easier access for ferry services.

Both schemes are required to apply for a licence from the EPA to dump in the bay which is in a Unesco biosphere reserve and contains a range of designations under the EU habitats and birds directives.

The newspaper reports on more of the issues of offshore protection and planning permission.

Published in Dublin Bay

#CruiseBerth - Richard Boyd Barrett TD and local author Alison Hackett are among the speakers lined up for a public meeting on Dun Laoghaire Harbour's controversial cruise liner berth plans tomorrow evening (Monday 7 September).

Activist group Save Our Seafront is hosting 'An Alternative Vision for Dun Laoghaire Harbour' at 8pm in The Kingston Hotel to discuss the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company's proposals for a next-generation cruise liner terminal that Boyd Barrett and Hackett agree would "destroy" the unique aspect of the harbour.

Other speakers on the night will include An Taisce's Fergal McLoughlin and Liam Shanahan of the National Yacht Club, whose joint submission to An Bord Pleanála over the cruise berth plans (as a part of the Dun Laoghaire Combined Clubs) was recently published online.

#CancelledCruiseCall -The biggest ever cruiseship built exclusively for the UK market is no longer listed as scheduled to visit Dun Laoghaire Harbour according to the port company website, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Once again another massive cruiseship is not calling offshore of Dun Laoghaire Harbour. As previously reported on the 147,000 tonnes P&O Cruises 2015 built Britannia was due to call next Tuesday on her maiden call to Dun Laoghaire Harbour. Instead of anchoring she is to favour docking in Dublin Port that same day according to the port's vessel arrival list.

As also reported, Britannia is as scheduled to make a first call to Cobh next week on the following Wednesday.

Afloat await a response from DLHC to make a comment on the cancellation by the prestigious cruise operator. The port company today launched online all documents of the planning application lodged to An Bord Planeala and where a public consultation period over a seven-weeks began today for submissions /observations on the proposed €18m cruise-berth. 

When the 3,600 passenger capacity Britannia is due to call to Dublin Port she will arrive to berth 33 within Alexandra Basin.

It is at this same berth is where a near-sister of Britannia, the Princess Cruises operated Royal Princess also favoured the capital instead of calling offshore of Dun Laoghaire on 28 June. This was the third successive cancellation by the 2013 built Italian cruiseship and this has reduced a record-breaking season that was expected to total 23 cruise calls.

On the same day the Royal Princess called to Dublin Port on 28 June, Afloat reported the sail-assisted five mast cruiseship Wind Surf that made an earlier than scheduled arrival to Dun Laoghaire. She was due the next day. The reason for the early diversion were high-winds that prevented the Windstar Cruises flagship from launching tenders to bring guests ashore to Dunmore East.

It is for similar and operational reasons that massive cruiseships do not make anchorage calls. On the occasion of the inaugural cruise call for the DLHC cruise season on 11 May, MSC Cruises decided to swap the port of call to Dublin Port with the 137,000 tonnes MSC Splendida visiting on the same day to the capital. For a report of her second call to the port click here.

The cruise operator citing that passengers had the convenience of proximity to the capital with more time spent rather than having to be tendered ashore via Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

A further three cruise calls by separate ships are due to Dun Laoghaire this season.

The MSC Splendida, as previously reported on Afloat was confirmed by DLHC to make her long awaited first visit with a call offshore next month.

#CruiseBerthConsultation – Details on all the documents in relation to the proposed Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company cruise berth planning application to An Bord Pleanala are now available from the dedicated website:

As previously reported on plans for the €18m cruise-berth are on public display. Observations / submissions can be made to An Bord Pleanála during the seven-week public consultation period which began today (9 July 2015).

A full copy of the planning application is available on the above referred website. Information contained on that website will only be available for the period of the planning application process. Full copies are also available to view or purchase with An Bord Pleanala and the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council only.

The public should raise any questions or concerns directly with the planning authorities, An Bord Pleanála. Please do not contact the DLHC directly with regard to this planning application.

To consult the DLHC proposed cruise-berth (a downloadable file) can be visited through the link here.

As reported on Inshore-Ireland, submissions or observations may be made ONLY to ABP during the seven-week consultation period, relating to:

1) implications of the proposed development for proper planning and sustainable development of the area concerned

2) likely effects on the environment of the proposed development if carried out

3) likely significant effects of the proposed development on a European site if carried out.

Submissions/observations must be accompanied by a fee of €50 and must be received by ABP not later than 5.30pm on August 27, 2015.

Among the documents that can be inspected during the public opening hours for the seven week consultation period are the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Natura Impact Statement.

Alternatively, all the documents may be inspected free of charge or purchased on payment of a specified fee (which fee shall not exceed the reasonable cost of making such copy) during public opening hours for a period of 7 weeks commencing on 9 July 2015 at the following locations:

The Offices of An Bord Pleanála, 64 Marlborough Street, Dublin 1

The Offices of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, Civic Offices, County Hall, Marine Road, Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin

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