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#CRUISELINERS- Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) Ocean Countess (1976/16,795grt) is scheduled to depart Dublin Port this evening, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The Portuguese flagged vessel is to start on a 14-nights "Canaries & Madeira" cruise, with Irish passengers having the opportunity to embark directly in the capital.

She is to sail overnight to Liverpool, however her first Iberian port of call to Lisbon, is not until this Friday. Fares for the fortnight cost from £1,207 sterling and the cruise was organised through John Galligan Travel.

CMV also operates another veteran with the slightly older Marco Polo (1973/19,860grt) which too is a regular visitor to the port.

Published in Cruise Liners

#CRUISELINERS – Cruise & Maritime Voyages Ocean Countess (17,593 tonnes) departed Liverpool's City Cruise Terminal this evening bound for Cobh, though thirty years ago she sailed considerably further south and for completely different reasons, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 800 passenger capacity was built in 1976 for Cunard Line as their Cunard Countess which undertook an unusual charter less than a decade later. For six months she was used as a troopship by the British Government's Ministry of Defence after the conclusion of the Falklands War in 1982.

The vessel's deployment was to support troop movements between Ascension Island and Port Stanley whilst the islands airfield at Port Stanley was being reinstated.

She sailed 8,000 miles to the South Atlantic islands, where families and friends of British personnel lost in the conflict were also carried on one round voyage. This was to enable commemorations to take place at sea and ashore. Today marks the end of the war, where further commemorations were held on the islands and in the UK.

Published in Cruise Liners
Portuguese-flagged Ocean Countess (1976/17,593grt) returned to Dublin Port from Vigo, this morning after completing a 10-night Iberian and Morocco cruise. She embarks on another direct cruise from the capital today, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Operated by UK-based Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV), Ocean Countess picked up a pilot in Dublin Bay close to the South Burford Buoy around 09.00. An hour later she berthed in the port at Ocean Pier from where passengers of the 800-passenger capacity vessel disembarked.

With a short-turn around in port, more cruise-goers will be boarding for a mid-afternoon departure, marking the start of a 13-night Canary Islands & Madeira cruise. When she heads out of the port, the first port of call is Falmouth then it's off to Leixoes (Portugal), Agadir (Morocco), Arrecife (Lanzarote), Las Palmas (Gran Canaria), Funchal (Madeira), Lisbon (Portugal) and Vigo (Spain) before returning to Dublin.

The vessels final end-of season cruise from Dublin is on 25 October, with a 10-night cruise to Nice (returning by air). The interim ports of call are to Falmouth, Leixoes, Lisbon, Cartagena (Spain) Palma and Mahon (Menorca). To read more about this cruise click HERE.

In addition to Dublin calls the former Cunard Countess, also called this season to Cork Harbour. It was during a call last month to Ringaskiddy that another 'Cunarder' the flagship, Queen Mary 2 was also in port on a call to Cobh. To read more of that visit click HERE.

Published in Cruise Liners

Cruising off the east coast of Leinster this evening is the veteran cruiseship Marco Polo which is bound for the Scilly Isles off Land's End, writes Jehan Ashmore.

For those with an appreciation for the more traditional tiered deck profile compared to the bulky new giant cruiseships, the 22,080 tonnes vessel built as the Aleksandr Puskin at the Mathias-Thesen-Werft, East Germany, certainly represents a different era. 

The liner entered service in 1966 with the Baltic Shipping Company on their regular trans-Atlantic Montreal-Leningrad service. In 1975 she was converted for her new role as a full-time cruiseship. For a cut-away deck profile and description of facilities click here.

Presenting a distinctive profile with a pronounced flared bow and cruiser stern, she boasts the classic lines of a vessel nearing 50 years ship. Such ships are increasingly becoming a rare sight on the ocean waves.

She can take 850 passengers accommodated in 450 cabins. Her main dimensions reflect her ocean-going design noting her draft is 8.2m (26.9ft) with a length of 176.3m (578.4ft) and a beam of 23.6m (77.4ft). Crewing is divided between senior officers (international) and cruise staff and entertainers are both British and comprising of other nationalities.

In recent years Marco Polo served the German market but she now is run by Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) on cruises from the UK.  The company also operate the Ocean Countess which first started out her days as Cunard Countess.

Published in Cruise Liners

The ports of Dublin and Cork are scheduled to receive a record 139 cruiseships in total this year, bringing 180,000 visitors and crew. Many more of these cruiseships are due to visit over the next two months and stretching into late Autumn. Between €35-55m is expected to be generated into the Dublin region from high-spend cruise visitors
while a further €5m is predicted for the local economy at Cork, writes Jehan Ashmore.

A notable visitor due to grace Dublin Bay is the return of The World, albeit not strictly a cruiseship but the first custom-built time-share ship. The vessel is to dock in the capital for four-nights from 4-8 August and then sails overnight to Cobh, for two-nights from 9-11 August.

In essence, The World presents an exclusively unique lifestyle experience. Instead of passengers, there are 'residents' who live onboard. Residents of the 43,188 gross tonnes (GT) vessel don't merely occupy a cabin but own large-sized luxurously appointed private apartments that are 'home' complete with balconies.

On 9 August, Silver Cloud docks at Dublin from Oban, Scotland. Measuring 16,927 GT, the vessel may not be the largest with only 315 passengers, but is an ultra-luxury cruiseship, regarded as one of the highest standards in the cruise-sector industry.

Returning to Cork Harbour, Cobh awaits the mighty Independence of the Seas. At 154,407 tonnes, she is the biggest ever cruiseship to dock at any Irish port. With a massive 4,375 passenger capacity, attractions include rock-climbing or surfing-boarding  using a special pool. The 'Independence' berths mid-afternoon on 29 August for an overnight call, departing 18.00hrs the next day.

Among smaller cruiseships, the private-motoryacht like, Island Sky of 4,000 tonnes and with 200 passengers, calls to Dublin on 11 August, and may berth upriver close to the new Samual Beckett Bridge.

Those keen on traditional ships, can look forward to the visit of Classic International Cruises Princess Danae, built in 1955. The veteran is due 16 August, and her sister, Princess Daphne is expected 2 September. Unusually the 16,000 tonnes pair were converted from general cargo-ships for a career in cruising.

New cruiseship, Costa Luminosa (92,700 GT) costing US $ 548m makes a second call to Cobh on 3 September and is operated by Costa Cruises.
This is the first time the Italian company has ventured into Irish cruising waters.

Without doubt the largest Dublin caller this season will be Emerald Princess. The giant weighs some 113,000 gross tonnes and at 288m long will certainly provide a spectacle, with lights blaring over a dozen or so decks, during a dusk departure on 14 September.

Also entering service this year, P&O Cruises 116,000 tonnes new Azura, is set to visit Dublin on 23 September and Cork the next day. The Italian built newbuild cost US $ 535m and has a capacity for 3,076 passengers.

Ocean_Countess_departing_Dublin._Photo__Jehan_Ashmore_-_ShipSNAPS

Ocean Countess departing Dublin. Photo: Jehan Ashmore/ShipSNAPS

A newcomer to Irish ports is Cruise & Maritime Voyages Ocean Countess which is making round Ireland itineraries with calls at Cobh on 13 August and 12 September. Incidently the 'Countess' was converted into a troopship for the Falkland Islands conflict in 1982.

Jewel of the Seas (90,090 GT) makes a Cobh call on 7 September and exactly a month later returns, marking the last cruise-call to Cork in 2010 while Fred Olsen's Boudicca will be Dublin's last caller on 20 November.

For further information on other visiting cruiseships, please click links:

www.dublinport.ie/not-in-menu/cruise-ship-scheduled/

www.portofcork.ie/index.cfm/page/cruiseschedule2010

Published in Ports & Shipping

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