Nearly 5,000 passengers and crew will disembark next month from a 20-storey floating pleasure palace as the first of 18 super cruisers and four smaller cruise ships sail into the port of Dun Laoghaire, Dublin, for the summer season.
It should be good news, right? A procession of well-heeled visitors coming into the seaside borough that has been hit harder than most by the crash?
But many locals say it won't mean a thing to them.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, among the record 22 cruise callers will be the anchorage call of the Splendida on May 11, with 1,313 crew and 3,900 tourists.
Each passenger will have paid up to €3,369 to be pampered with 11 nights of wining and fine dining aboard the 333-metre cruise vessel, plying the route from Hamburg to Southampton via Dublin and Scotland.
It boosts all-inclusive access to four restaurants, a jazz bar, ice cream parlour and chocolate shop among its amenities, but passengers and crew are also each expected to spend on average €70 each time they disembark.
Proponents of a plan to turn Dun Laoghaire into a major port of call for luxury cruising ships claim the estimated 100,000 passengers and crew aboard 22 cruise ships berthing at the port this summer will inject an estimated €7m into the local economy - with approximately one-third spent in Dun Laoghaire during a typical 12-hour stopover.
But as the Dun Laoghaire Cruise Stakeholder Group, (DLSG) comprised of the local council and business improvement association and the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company, begins a two-week public consultation process tomorrow (Afloat.ie adds that the process has already begun since last Monday, 30 March) on re-developing the historical harbour to accommodate super cruise ships, local opinion is sharply divided.
"It's madness," Peter Kerrigan, a local businessman and chair of the Dun Laoghaire/Rathdown Ratepayers' Association, said bluntly of the €18m plan to build a new berth and quay capable of accommodating super cruise ships up to 340 metres long.
Super cruisers currently have to berth off-shore with passengers getting to and from dry land via a shuttle boat.
The plan also includes transforming the now-defunct Stena Line ferry marshalling area into coach, taxi and mini-bus parking and building a new boardwalk overlooking the marina.
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