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Displaying items by tag: Cruise Liners

#CruiseshipLimit - The Irish Times reports that Dún Laoghaire-Rathdown councillors move to limit the size of cruise ships allowed to berth in Dún Laoghaire harbour – effectively banning “supersized” cruise ships – has been opposed by council management.

Members of the local authority voted two-to-one last December to ban cruise ships in excess of 250m long in the local authority’s drafting of the county development plan.

However, in a management response to submissions on the plan the authority’s chief executive Philomena Poole said the ban should be deleted.

Ms Poole’s comments were circulated to councillors on Tuesday. Councillors will get a final vote on whether to include the ban when the development plan is adopted, expected to be in February.

While the management report on the councillors’ proposed prohibition notes a large number of submissions in favour of the proposal, Ms Poole said the harbour was already a protected structure and does not need the additional protection of the ban.

The chief executive’s opposition is significant as Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company has applied to An Bord Pleanála for permission for a cruise berth facility of almost 400m and significant dredging inside and outside the harbour walls.

To read more and about the transfer of the harbour to local authority control in accordance to the Harbours Bill, please click here.

#CruiseLiners- Cruise Belfast has announced that 2016 will be the busiest season in the city’s history with over 145,000 passengers and crew due to visit, representing a 26% increase in visitor numbers compared with 2015.

Several cruise operators have significantly increased the number of times they plan to call at Belfast this year. UK based Cruise & Maritime Voyages is scheduled to call a total of eight times following the successful single call of its cruise ship the MV Magellan in 2015.

Fred Olsen Cruise Line has also increased the number of its calls from seven in 2015 to a total of 11 visits in 2016.

The larger ships are also strongly represented with US based Princess Cruises continuing to show strong support for Belfast and Northern Ireland with a total of 11 large cruise ships due to call carrying a total of 53,000 visitors.

Belfast Harbour will play host to 81 cruise calls in 2016, carrying passengers from around the world with the cruise industry’s best known operators once again scheduling Belfast including Princess Cruise, Celebrity Cruise and P&O.

Joe O’Neill, Belfast Harbour’s Commercial Director, said: “This is a fantastic announcement for Northern Ireland’s tourism industry with thousands of first time visitors getting the chance to sample the region’s great scenery, attractions, warm welcome and hospitality. In the past 5 years we have almost doubled the number of cruise ships calling into Belfast which is a major achievement and a tremendous vote of confidence in Northern Ireland’s tourism offer. Most of the major lines operating in western Europe now call at Belfast and it’s particularly pleasing that year on year they have increased the number of calls they make to the city.”

Gerry Lennon, Chief Executive of Visit Belfast added: “The huge popularity of world class attractions such as Titanic Belfast and Giant’s Causeway coupled with the international appeal of Game of Thrones and our world-class golf courses is helping profile Northern Ireland’s appeal as a destination, and the feedback from cruise operators is that Belfast remains one of their passengers’ most popular ports of call. Visit Belfast will continue to work with Belfast Harbour and the city’s tourism providers to ensure that passengers have every opportunity to see the very best that Belfast has to offer.”

Among the ships calling next year will be Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth, launched in 2010 at a cost of £350m. The largest vessel due is Princess Cruise’s Regal Princess with 5,100 passengers and crew, whilst the smallest will be All Leisure’s Hebridean Princess with just 74. The first visitor will be the MV Astoria in March as part of a British Isles cruise.

August 2016 will be the city’s busiest cruise month ever with 26 calls expected. During the year there will also be a number of cruises embarking from the port.

In recent years cruise lines operating western European itineraries have been introducing larger and longer vessels which require deeper channels and additional quay space. To accommodate these next-generation cruise ships and the increased popularity of Belfast, Belfast Harbour has plans to develop a new, dedicated cruise facility.

Published in Cruise Liners

#Cruiseliners – An extra cruiseship is to visit Dun Laoghaire Harbour, since Afloat reported the end of the 2015 season marked by the maiden anchorage call of Mein Schiff 4, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The additional cruiseship, Celebrity Silhouette brings to eight in total to call during 2016. The 122,400 tonnes 'Soltice' class ship is to anchor off Dun Laoghaire in July and only because Dublin Port cannot accept the vessel due to unsuitable tides.

The Celebrity Cruises ship however will make three visits to Dublin Port throughout this season, for more click here. The port will be capable of handling much larger cruiseships following permission granted last year for a new cruise terminal.  

As for Dun Laoghaire Harbour, there is insufficient depth for larger cruiseships to dock inside the harbour and this led to plans lodged by Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company for a €18m cruise-berth. A decision to grant or deny planning permission by An Bord Pleanala was delayed earlier this month and they announced that a final ruling on the controversial project may take months to reach conclusion. 

Celebrity Silhouette with a 2,886 passenger capacity will be a boost for Dun Laoghaire Harbour to where previously the German build cruiseship also made a maiden offshore call to the port last July.

Of the eight cruiseships for the 2016 season all ships have visited Dun Laoghaire Harbour before.

In the past five years the most frequent caller has been the sail-assisted Wind Surf. The four-mast cruiseship is scheduled to make 2 of the eight calls this season and dock within the harbour alongside Carlisle Pier.

To consult arrival and departures times for the cruiseships calling to Dun Laoghaire Harbour, click here in addition to those also scheduled to the port for the following season of 2017. 

#CruiseLinersDublin - A major cruise conference being held in Dublin later this year as previously reported on Afloat, is expected to significantly bolster the number of cruise liners visiting this country.

The Irish Examiner writes that Cruise Europe, an organisation representing 120 ports and associate members on the continent, is to hold its annual three-day conference in the capital in June.

Cruise Europe’s goal is to have cruise companies, ports and likely destinations working together in a unified manner to ensure safe and enhanced experiences for cruise passengers.

Chairman of Cruise Europe, Captain Michael McCarthy — who is also commercial manager of the Port of Cork — said he is excited at the prospect of Dublin Port hosting the conference. He said it was a great opportunity to showcase Ireland to the cruise industry. To read more, click here.

Published in Cruise Liners

#BackForMore - All Leisure Group (ALH), the UK cruise group, has signed a three-year agreement with Portsmouth International Port that will extend a relationship that begin in 2010 to 2018.

The group owns three well-known companies; Swan Hellenic, Voyages of Discovery and Hebridean Island Cruises. During the last five years ships from each company have visited Portsmouth, a decision based on transport connections, location and investment in new facilities.

The new three-year agreement with ALH starts this month and is a vote of confidence for the Hampshire port that celebrates its 40th anniversary this year having begun operating as a ferryport.

The cruise team at Portsmouth offers a wide range of services to visiting cruiseships, with an ever-growing reputation for handling luxury smaller-sized ships.

For the last five years Swan Hellenic’s Minerva has been based at Portsmouth International Port for cruises in Northern Europe, the Baltic and Scandinavia. That relationship will continue for at least another three years, with Minerva starting Portsmouth 2016 cruise season on 15 April.

The first cruise of next year from the famous ‘Waterfront City’ will see passengers taken on a two-week holiday to explore three fascinating French rivers – the Loire, the Seine and the Garonne.

Throughout the summer the 350 passenger Minerva with ‘country house hotel’ facilities offers a varied and distinctive series of nine cruises from Portsmouth, including visits to the glorious gardens of Europe.

Afloat has identified a cruise by Minerva with a call to Dublin Port in late summer as part of a 14-day ‘Celtic Traditions & Edinburgh Tatoo’ cruise.

Other destinations include the Baltic, an Icelandic quest, the Norwegian fjords, the Scottish Highlands and Islands and a chance to discover the treasures of Portugal and Spain.

Published in Cruise Liners

#FerryPort40th - The UK ferryport of Portsmouth celebrates its 40th anniversary this year as the Hampshire port opened in 1976.

Over those four decades the English Channel port has grown beyond all initial expectations having begun in June of that year with a small four acre site and with just a choice of two routes and one ‘linkspan' for passengers to board ferries.

Now Portsmouth International Port occupies a 17.6 hectare site, much of it on reclaimed land and from where three ferry companies operate. Brittany Ferries (France), Condor Ferries (Channel Islands) and Wightlink (Isle of Wight) combined offer crossings to more destinations than any other UK port. 

During the busier summer season, Portsmouth International Port will be celebrating the landmark birthday with a series of special events. Staff are also asking passengers to contribute their memories, photographs and home movies of the early days of what is now widely known as “Britain's Best Connected Port”.

The port was built by Portsmouth City Council right next to the M275, the port quickly gained the title because of its closeness to London, with a much larger range of connections on the continent than any other UK port. With no need for passengers and freight coming from the Midlands, West and North to navigate through the congested capital.

Despite the growth of package holidays and cheap air travel, Portsmouth continues to play an important role - as a gateway to the continent for more than 2 million passengers every year.

The south coast port is also increasingly popular as a destination for cruise ships (and as Afloat adds on occasions calling to Irish ports). Around 12 cruise operators bring tens of thousands of holidaymakers arriving every year to visit the port and the wider region.

It’s not all about ferry and cruiseships, as the port has also played a role in how changes in taste during the last four decades are reflected in the fresh produce that arrives daily at Portsmouth International Port.

Bananas have always been a mainstay of the operation, with more than 70% of the delicious fruit eaten in the UK now coming through Portsmouth.

In recent years though increasing amounts of more exotic fruits and vegetables have been arriving from all over the world. Back in 1976 it’s unlikely that anyone would have guessed that mangoes would be frequently seen at Portsmouth, heading to supermarket shelves.

Published in Ferry

#CruiseBerth - A final decision may take months on a planned new cruise berth in Dun Laoghaire Harbour is reached, after An Bord Pleanála deferred announcing its ruling on the project, writes The Irish Times.

It had been expected that the planning authority would announce its decision to either grant or deny permission for the development in Dún Laoghaire Harbour by January 8th.

However, a spokesman for the board said an announcement may not be made until after the new target date of April 15th next. The spokesman confirmed that An Bord Pleanála had not reached a decision on the controversial proposal within the initial 18-week timeframe set by the board.

While the authority may reach a final decision on the project prior to April 15th, this is not guaranteed.

An oral hearing, which spanned almost a month in total, was said to have contributed to the delay.

The publication date of the decision may need to be pushed out further again if the board decides that further deliberation is needed, after its chief inspector’s report for the cruise berth is completed.

The €18 million development, spearheaded by Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company, has proven a divisive issue in the south Dublin area. The topic has also been debated in the Oireachtas.

To read more on this latest development, click here.

#CruiseLiners - Following the release of Dublin Port's cruise visit schedule, the Port of Cork has announced its own list of arrivals for 2016.

And it features many of the same big names, with May and August particularly busy months for cruise liners visiting the Cobh Cruise Terminal in Cork Harbour.

However, one visitor the capital won't be seeing – after three cancellations last season – is the enormous Fantasia-class MSC Splendida, a veritable floating city with more than 4,000 passengers that's expected to stop in Cobh on 312 August.

The full schedule is available on the Port of Cork website HERE.

Published in Cruise Liners

#CruiseLiners - The Dublin Port Company has released a list of all the cruise liner visits expected this coming season.

The first of these, the MS Black Watch, was set to arrive at Berth 33 today (Wednesday 6 January). It marks the lone visit till 27 March with the arrival of the MV Azores, followed days later by the MV Balmoral. The Marco Polo and the super-sized Brilliance of the Seas will also arrive in late April.

But the cruise liners season proper gets under way in May with no fewer than 17 cruise visits by 10 separate liners scheduled for Dublin Port throughout the month.

May will also see one the port's busiest days for cruises, as the Azores, Astor and L'Austral will all arrive and depart on 17 May, as well as one of the biggest arrivals of the year, the 2,800-plus capacity Celebrity Silhouette on 31 May.

Download the PDF below to see the complete list of schedules cruise liner arrivals and departures for Dublin Port in 2016.

Published in Cruise Liners
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#FinalFestiveCall - Marco Polo, Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) classic cruiseship, it now transpires has become the latest and final caller to Cobh in 2015 on this day of the winter-solstice, writes Jehan Ashmore.

It was in October, that reported on the conclusion of the ‘official’ Port of Cork cruise season that saw Fred.Olsen Cruise Lines 880 passenger Boudicca make an end of season call.

That visit by the 28,388 tonnes cruiseship marked another successful year for the port, prior to the 1973 built Boudicca's refurbishment to include fitting of new balconies.

This current call of CMV’s Marco Polo, is understood to be the concluding leg of a ‘Festive Shopping & Party Cruise’.

She has a deep draft drawing 8 metres to handle long-distance ocean voyages and where the recently upgraded Cobh terminal can easily accommodate such vessels.

The 22,080 tonnes vessel is scheduled to depart Cobh at lunchtime today and return to Avonmouth Docks near Bristol.

A final end of the year cruise from the UK is scheduled to depart Avonmouth tomorrow as Marco Polo embarks on a 14 nights Christmas & New Year Canary Island & Madeira Cruise.

Before we bid farewell to 2015, this has been a very special year for Marco Polo, as the veteran classic ship celebrates her golden anniversary. She was launched in 1965 as the ‘liner’ Alexandr Pushkin, becoming the second of a quintet of ‘poet’ class sisters named after Russia’s greatest poets and writers. She was built at the Mathias-Thesen Werft in Wismar, in the former East Germany.

Alexandr Pushkin entered service in August 1965 with a series of cruises before taking up her intended employment during the following spring. This saw her reopen a regular Soviet service on the North Atlantic, which had remained dormant since the Cold War in the late forties.

The routine transatlantic liner service between Leningrad, Bremerhaven, London, Le Havre and Montreal was established and the schedule continued through to the late seventies.

The transatlantic service operated in the summer months, with cruises carried out in warmer climes during the winter. Such warmer cruises were based on charters mostly to western companies.

The five ‘Poets’ ships at the time represented the fastest, largest and most prestigious liners in the Soviet passenger fleet, and at the time also became the largest fleet in the world.

Over the past five decades Marco Polo has made numerous voyages across the seven seas. She has visited every continent from the Antarctica to the Arctic.

The ‘Alex’, as the Aussies fondly named her following a career with CTC Cruises for the Australian market, arrived in Singapore in February 1990 supposedly for a refit. This did not proceed following the collapse of the Soviet Union and her fate became increasingly uncertain. Added to this where consequent financial difficulties in addition to technical upgrades that albeit were necessary however they proved too costly and so she was laid-up.

In 1993 she was re-built in Greece where she undertook an extensive renovation entailing the entire gutting of the ship. The process took almost three years at a cost of US$60 million. She emerged with an increased tonnage orignally of 19,860. Also she was given her first and only name change during what has became half a century of service.

It was not until 2008, that Marco Polo was acquired by her present owners, Greece’s Global Cruise Lines, and operated by CMV under the Bahamas flag. She sails out of the UK and not just based out of Avonmouth, but also her homeport of Tilbury, London.

The port on the Thames estuary is a former haunt of hers as she served the UK market also during the swinging sixties and over the next decade. So its full circle as she still offers UK cruise-goers sailing with CMV Cruises.

Published in Cruise Liners
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