#BantryCruiseships – As previously reported, Serenissima (1960/2,598grt) a 110 passenger exploration cruiseship which called to Glengariff mid-week was yesterday followed by Saga Sapphire to the secluded west Cork anchorage, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Operated by Serenissima Cruises, she reflects a different era with classically designed hull forms and overall appearance of an era that remains with the Hurtigruten final traditional ship, Lofoten which celebrates her 50th anniversary this year.
Saga Sapphire (1981/37,301grt) with a 710 passenger capacity is easily the largest cruise ship caller this season to call to Bantry Bay. Operated by Saga Cruises, she had sailed from Killybegs, having also visited Belfast and Dublin.
She is the third caller this season out a total of six to visit Bantry Bay Port which at the turn of this year, saw responsibility for the control of Bantry Bay Harbour transferred to the Port of Cork Company.
The transfer order was made by Minister for Transport, Leo Varadkar TD, and for the purposes of managing operations in Bantry Bay, the Port of Cork Company established a subsidiary company, Bantry Bay Port Company Limited.
To date, Le Boreal and Minerva have called in late May opening the cruise ship season which will also see Amadea call in August make a repeat visit in October to mark the end of the season.
As for the interim fifth visitor to call to Glengariff, Club Med 2 is to make an appearance in September, her 'tallship' presence will further add to the allure of cruising is such a scenic setting.
As there are no berthing facilities to cater for cruiseships alongside charming Glengariff, this all lends to the experience of anchoring in the surrounds of beautiful Bantry Bay.
Nearby is Garnish Island, where many visitors take the small ferry service to the island, where the world renowned gardens are laid out with specimen plants that are rare in this climate.