#LinerQueenMary2- The eagerly awaited visit of the world's only 'liner', Cunard Line's flagship Queen Mary 2 is now just over a week away to making her first ever visit to Dublin Bay with an 'anchorage' call off Dun Laoghaire Harbour, writes Jehan Ashmore. The liner arrives next Thursday, May 16th.
The significance of the call of Queen Mary 2 or 'QM2' as she is affectionately known will no doubt generate a major draw for onlookers when she arrives on the Dublin Bay horizon from a northerly direction around 06.00hrs.
Vantage points lining the East Pier, Scotsman's Bay and beyond will be condusive to witness the sheer size of the 151,400 tonnes giant vessel as she looms towards Dun Laoghaire.
The French built liner which cost €659m (US$800 million) is currently on a trans-Atlantic voyage and is bound for her homeport of Southampton. The liner represents a link to the past of the bygone era in travelling the Atlantic in complete luxury while capturing the essence of the classic sailing voyage experience to and from New York.
Facilities are both elegant and grand and where her 2,600 passengers have no less than 14 spacious decks with all the luxury one would expect with such liner prestige and historical pedigree.
Among the amenities guests can enjoy the Canyon Ranch spa-club, the only planetarium at sea and a 3D cinema.
Queen Mary 2 will be the highlight for the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company as the passenger liner also marks the opening of the 2013 cruise season, and where such a large vessel will provide a much needed boost to regional tourism.
The port can also look forward to a dramatic increase this season as a further dozen or so cruise calls are scheduled to bring 30,000 passengers and crew to the port, a stark contrast to last year's return to this business sector with just two calls.
Another first will be the use of the purpose built cruise liner dock pontoon, when the QM2's tenders are expected to berth at the facility in the Coal Harbour.
The QM2's predecessor of only half her size the 70,000 tonnes Queen Elizabeth II (QE2) had made two anchorage calls offshore of Dun Laoghaire Harbour as did some other well known large cruiseships more than a decade ago.
In regards to Queen Mary 2, this will be her third call to Irish waters and as with the first visit, she too made an anchorage call offshore of Dunmore East in 2005. On her second call to Cobh in 2011 this involved berthing alongside the quay.