A floating crane-barge with a 1,000 ton lifting capacity hoisted the structure sky-high away from the ship which was berthed at the Grand Bahama Shipyard drydock facility. The ships owners, Princess Cruises cited the main reason for the removal was in order to 'significantly improve the operational performance of the ship, including greater fuel efficiency.'
Grand Princess may have lost her signature Skywalker Nightckub but three-decks below a new nightclub, One5, inspired by its Deck 15 location was created. In addition to this work which took place during April and May the 2,600 passenger cruisehip also underwent a major refit. The ship which had its last major refurbishment in 2004 has amenities to include an outdoor movie screen, fitness centre, spa, casino and four swimming pools.
For 'interactive' deckplans click here and interior slideshow click this link.
The distinctive 'Skywalker' feature became one of the most iconic in cruiseship naval architecture when the Grand Princess was launched as leadship
of the 'Grand' class in 1998. Located at the extreme aft of the vessel, the nightclub could only be reached by clubbers using an angled walkway (photo). Externally the feature was referred by some as the 'shopping trolley' and others percieved the design infleunce from towering poops found on ancient war-faring galleons.
Irrespective of the design origins, another 10 'Grand' class vessels were built by the Italian Fincantieni (at Malfalcone) Shipbuilding Group. The 'handle' (photo) feature on the Grand Princess was made with a heavier material compared to Golden Princess (2001) and Star Princess completed a year later. So there are no plans to remove these nightclubs. Of the more recent additions to the class modifications have appeared, notably without the inclusion of the Skywalker Nightclub's but there are changes to funnel designs.
Outside the Princess Cruises brand, the Ventura and Azura (also of the Grand-class) operate for P&O Cruises, serving the UK market from Southampton. The Hamsphire port welcomed the pioneering leadship Grand Princess on 5 May after she made a 16-day trans-Atlantic repositioning voyage from Port Everglades.
The cruiseship which has a crew of 1,200 alone will make the UK port its seasonal homeport this year from where she sails on cruises in Europe. On one of these cruises itineraries the Grand Princess (290m long x 36 beam X 8.5m draft) included a visit to the Port of Cork today. You can monitor the ship from Cobh Cruise Terminal via the 'live' bridge web-cam, noting the vessel is due to depart at 18.00 this evening bound for Dublin Port.
Grand Princess became the first cruiseship to measure over 100,000 gross registered tonnes when the 108,806 (grt) vessel docked in Dublin on 31 August 2004.
Last year the port handled 88 cruisecalls and this number of vessels is to be closely repeated this season. Over 200 cruise calls with around half a million passengers and crew are scheduled to visit the island of Ireland. The cruise sector business is estimated to generate €60m to the economies
north and south.
The inaugural call for this season was made last Monday by Cunard Line's Queen Victoria (90,049grt) and the four year-old vessel is to return for another visit on 5 May. Her slighty larger sister Queen Elizabeth (90,400grt) will make her maiden 'Irish' port of call on 10 September.
Last Autumn the 2,092 passenger cruiseship newbuild was 'floated-out' of the building dry-dock at Fincantieri's Monfalcone shipyard in Italy. At 294m long her hull is derived from the 'Vista' class series built for Carnival Corporation, owners of the Cunard Line.
Four days later the Cunard 'flagship' Queen Mary 2 (QM2) will also make an appearance. The 148,528grt French built vessel is the only designated cruise-liner in the world, the title was handed on from her predecessor, Queen Elizabeth II (QE2).
Throughout the career of the iconic liner, she made several calls to Cork (Ringaskiddy) while employed on the Atlantic 'liner' service between Southampton and New York.
On her farewell cruise QE2 made her first and only call to Cobh in 2008, the 70,327grt ship was meant to stay for a standard day-long visit but due to strong windy weather conditions in Cherbourg, she was prevented from docking and spent an un-scheduled overnight stay in the picturesque location.
The scheduling of all three 'Cunarders' to Cobh will be a first for the Port of Cork. Asides the Italian-built trio, there will be plenty more cruise callers lined up for the season, notably the Independence of the Seas, the largest cruiseship caller to an Irish port.
The Finnish built giant weighs 154,407 grt (some 6,000 tonnes larger than the liner QM2) and can carry 4,375 passengers.
Another large visitor will be the Azura at 115,055grt which can handle 3,100 passengers. She is the built to a design based from the 'Grand' class ships commissioned for Carnival Corporation's which also owns Princess Cruises.
The value of the cruiseship sector business to the island of Ireland this year is valued at €60m. The list below is a schedule of cruiseship calls to Cork Harbour (Cobh, Ringaskiddy and Cork city-centre quays).
Please note information is based in the order of ship's name first, passenger capacity (PAX), arrival date (time), location of berth and lastly departure date (time). For the most up-to-date information please refer to the Port of Cork Company website cruise call list.
ATHENA 580 Apr 27th at 08:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
CELEBRITY ECLIPSE 3129 Apr 30th at 14:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
May 1st at 16:00
INDEPENDENCE OF THE SEAS 4375 May 1st at 17:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
May 2nd at 18:00
CELEBRITY ECLIPSE 3129 May 4th at 14:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
DISCOVERY 689 May 4th at 07:00 Ringaskiddy DWB May 4th at 22:00
QUEEN VICTORIA 2000 May 5th at 20:02 Cobh Cruise Terminal
May 25th at 18:00
EMERALD PRINCESS 3592 May 6th at 08:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
May 6th at 19:00
LE BOREAL 260 May 9th at 07:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal May 9th at 17:00
GRAND PRINCESS 3300 May 15th at 06:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
May 15th at 17:00
COSTA DELIZIOSA 2826 May 17th at 07:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
May 17th at 19:00
CROWN PRINCESS 3114 May 24th at 07:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
May 24th at 17:00
ROTTERDAM 1668 May 26th at 07:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
May 26th at 17:00
SILVER WHISPER 1668 May 28th at 09:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
May 28th at 23:00
LE DIAMANT 200 Jun 22nd at 06:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
Jun 22nd at 19:00
ASTOR 656 Jun 27th at 06:00 Ringaskiddy DWB
SILVER CLOUD 296 Jun 27th at 07:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
Jun 27th at 19:00
MINERVA 352 Jul 1st at 07:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
LE DIAMANT 200 Jul 7th at 06:00 North Custom House Quay
Jul 7th at 23:30
AURORA 1950 Jul 7th at 11:30 Cobh Cruise Terminal
Jul 7th at 23:00
ATHENA 580 Jul 15th at 08:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
Jul 15th at 17:00
SILVER CLOUD 296 Jul 18th at 07:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
Jul 18th at 19:00
SPIRIT OF ADVENTURE 470 Jul 19th at 06:00 North Custom House Quay
Jul 19th at 18:00
ROTTERDAM 1668 Jul 19th at 07:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
Jul 19th at 17:00
AZURA 3100 Jul 19th at 08:00 Ringaskiddy DWB
Jul 19th at 18:00
DAWN PRINCESS 2342 Jul 24th at 06:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
Jul 24th at 17:00
CROWN PRINCESS 3114 Jul 26th at 07:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
Jul 26th at 17:00
MARINA- Jul 27th at 07:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
Jul 27th at 18:00
AIDABLU 2580 Aug 11th at 07:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
Aug 11th at 18:00
MAASDAM 1613 Aug 13th at 06:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
Aug 13th at 15:00
SEVEN SEAS VOYAGER 730 Aug 17th at 07:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
Aug 17th at 15:00
CROWN PRINCESS 3114 Aug 18th at 07:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
Aug 18th at 17:00
LE DIAMANT 200 Aug 19th at 06:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
Aug 19th at 23:30
CLIPPER ODYSSEY 128 Aug 19th at 07:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
Aug 19th at 21:00
ATHENA 580 Aug 22nd at 07:30 Cobh Cruise Terminal
Aug 22nd at 17:00
AIDABLU 2580 Aug 25th at 07:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
Aug 25th at 18:00
LE DIAMANT 200 Aug 26th at 06:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
Aug 26th at 23:00
ARCADIA 2388 Aug 29th at 07:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
Aug 29th at 17:00
AZAMARA JOURNEY 702 Aug 31st at 08:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
COSTA DELIZIOSA 2826 Sep 1st at 07:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
Sep 1st at 18:00
LE DIAMANT 200 Sep 3rd at 07:00 North Custom House Quay
Sep 3rd at 17:00
PRINSENDAM 843 Sep 3rd at 09:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
Sep 3rd at 18:00
DISCOVERY 689 Sep 4th at 08:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
Sep 4th at 18:00
SILVER CLOUD 296 Sep 5th at 07:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
Sep 5th at 18:00
JEWEL OF THE SEAS 2500 Sep 6th at 08:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
Sep 6th at 16:00
SILVER WHISPER 388 Sep 10th at 06:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
Sep 10th at 18:00
QUEEN ELIZABETH 2092 Sep 10th at 08:00 Ringaskiddy DWB
Sep 10th at 17:00
OCEAN COUNTESS 884 Sep 14th at 06:30 Ringaskiddy DWB
Sep 14th at 16:30
QUEEN MARY 2 2592 Sep 14th at 08:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
Sep 14th at 17:00
OCEAN COUNTESS 884 Sep 16th at 07:30 Cobh Cruise Terminal
FRAM 500 Sep 28th at 07:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
Sep 28th at 18:00
SAGA RUBY 668 Dec 15th at 07:00 Cobh Cruise Terminal
Dec 15th at 23:00
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As the cruise season draws to a close, the Azura, the largest cruise-ship (116,000 gross registered tonnes) to call at Dublin, docked this morning at the port for the third time this year, writes Jehan Ashmore.
A unique feature is the huge 20-metre plasma screen video wall mounted on an after bulkhead. In addition the venue is used to broadcast major sporting events. The Sea Screen outdoor cinema is the first of its kind in the P&O Cruises fleet as is the novelty of passengers having an option of
single stateroom accommodation.
Azura is one of 12 vessels eminating from the 'Grand' class vessels built for Miami based Carnival Cruise Corporation which includes P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises. The leadship, Grand Princess became the first of the class to call at Dublin in 2004 and also had the distinction as the first cruiseship to surpass the 100,000gt mark to dock at the port. Last month, another near-sister, Emerald Princess, measuring 113,000grt called to Dublin.
In total there will be 86 cruise ships visiting Dublin this year, marking another record-breaking season. The sector is expected to generate €35-€55m to the local economy from approximately 80,000 high-spending passengers.
The Azura departs Dublin tonight at 21.15hrs for Cork, where the giant vessel is to berth at the Cobh Cruise Terminal. There will be off-season cruise-calls to the capital next month by Ocean Countess and Norwegian Sun, arriving from Belfast on 2 October. The last cruise-caller to Dublin this year will
be Fred Olsen Cruises Boudicca with two visits in November.