#queenelizabeth – Cunard's Cruise liner Queen Elizabeth, the sister ship to the Queen Mary II that visited in May, is berthed off Dun Laoghaire this morning. Passengers began disembarking shortly after 7am by tender to come ashore to see the sights of the Capital on a stunning morning on Dublin Bay.
Afloat.ie's Jehan Ashmore was one of the first on board the ship this morning that is decorated in an art deco style, reminiscent of 1930s ocean liners and will be reporting back on a tour of the ship later today.
Dún Laoghaire is the fifth port of call for the Queen Elizabeth since it set sail from Southampton a week ago on a 10-day cruise of Britain and Ireland.
The ship belongs to the world-famous Cunard Line.
Speaking after the arrival of the Queen Elizabeth, CEO of Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company, Gerry Dunne, said: "The iconic Queen Mary 2 visited Dún Laoghaire in May and, today, we are delighted to welcome her sister ship, the Queen Elizabeth. It is a tremendous boost for the Harbour to have a visit from a ship of her calibre.
"Recently, Dún Laoghaire has been designated as a centre for marine-related tourism under the National Ports Policy. We believe that cruise tourism has the potential to deliver a significant economic benefit to the town, the Greater Dublin area and the country in general. We're already hearing from businesses in town that the cruise calls have given a significant increase to the number of tourists visiting Dún Laoghaire.
"During the 2013 season, the Harbour is expecting to handle a record 14 cruise ship calls, bringing potentially up to 30,000 passengers and crew ashore. The figures are very encouraging and it augurs well for our plans to develop the Harbour as the key port for cruise visits along Ireland's east coast."
Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company is working with the Dún Laoghaire Cruise Stakeholder Group to engage in an energetic marketing campaign to enable Dún Laoghaire to tap into the lucrative cruise market. As part of the Stakeholder Group work, Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company has initiated a pre-application consultation with An Bord Pleanála under Section 37 of the Planning and Development Act, 2000, in regard to proposals for the construction of a new quay in Dún Laoghaire Harbour to cater for vessels of up to c.340m long. This will ensure that the harbour is also capable of catering for the 'new generation' of larger cruise vessels.
The Queen Elizabeth is the newest and second largest ship on the Cunard line and features eight restaurants, two theatres, three swimming pools and a games deck, together with a large spa and fitness centre, shopping arcade, libraries, bars, cafés, and a casino. The Queen Elizabeth has taken her name from the legendary Cunard Ocean Liner RMS Queen Elizabeth.