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.