#RoyalPrincess - Belfast Harbour's booming cruise season reached a highlight today as the largest ever cruiseship to visit the northern port docked, the 141,000 tonnes giant Royal Princess, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The 19 decks of the 3,560 passengers/1,500 crew cruiseship towers above Stormont Wharf where she berthed having sailed from Greenock in Scotland.
She is 330m (1,087ft) long by 44m (217ft) wide and was built by Fincantieri in, Monfalcone, Italy. Last year her she was christened by the Duchess of Cambridge at a ceremony held in Southampton.
The cruiseship has 1,780 cabins in which 1,438 with balcony (all outside staterooms feature a balcony).
Amongst her many luxurious facilities, she features the largest top deck pool ever with a Princess Watercolor Fantasy, an enhanced Movies Under the Stars screen, and a SeaWalk with vertigo inducing views for some, involving a drop of 128 foot looking straight down!
Compared to other fleetmates, she has a larger and expanded atrium with additional entertainment and casual dining options.
The visit of Royal Princess is one of more than 60 cruiseship callers this season in which Cruise Belfast, a marketing partnership between Visit Belfast and Belfast Harbour are promoting the sector which expects a total of 110,000 passengers by the end of October.
Asides todays call of Princess Cruises other large cruiseship operators have made Belfast a port of destination on their itinerary this season attracted by what the city and province has to offer. Leading operators have been Royal Caribbean International, MSC Cruises and Holland America Line.
A sister, Regal Princess entered service in May of this year and a third newbuild, Britannia which will operate for owners Carnival Corporation, through their UK brand P&O Cruises will be launched into service in 2015.
As previously reported, Britannia is to make her debut season with an anchorage call off Dun Laoghaire Harbour next July. She will be the largest ever cruiseship built exclusively to serve the UK market.