#GATHERING LINERS – A record number of cruiseships are to call to Dublin Port during the inaugural Gathering in 2013, where for the first time the number of cruiseship calls will surpass 100 during the season, writes Jehan Ashmore.
In 2013 the capital port is to welcome a total of 108 calls, (including several ships making repeat calls) stretching between April to October. Last year, 90 such ships made individual calls to the capital which welcomed 100,000 passengers and bringing between them €35-50m to the local economy.
The rise in cruise calls reflects Dublin Port Company's Masterplan 2012-2040, as previously reported on Afloat.ie, where the masterplan has included identifying the need to construct a new cruise facility by 2015, at the North Wall Quay Extension close to the East Link Bridge.
Launching the season will be the 700 passenger Discovery which although not new to Dublin Port, her arrival in early April will be a first under the Cruise & Maritime Voyages brand, having repalced Ocean Countess. The Discovery will also continue to maintain cruises for owners Voyages of Discovery.
Among the usual operators is Princess Cruises regular Caribbean Princess, however, the Gathering will be attracting several newcomers to include US based operator Carnival Cruises, whose giant Carnival Glory (2003/ 110,239 gross tonnes) has a capacity for almost 3,000 passengers and more than 1,100 crew.
Dublin Port can also look forward in welcoming a maiden port of call by the $547m MSC Magnifica in May. The 294m long newbuild is a larger fleetmate of Mediterranean Shipping Company's MSC Lirica, which last year made a debut docking to Dublin Port and to Cork (Cobh).