#CorkCruiseDouble – Cork Harbour today welcomed two very large cruiseships, though at separate locations due to the combined length of these impressive vessels, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The larger of the two Princess Cruises callers, the 330m long Royal Princess named by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, in 2013, entered Cork Harbour after the Caribbean Princess. The later cruiseship albeit smaller at 290m is still a large vessel in terms of those calling to an Irish port.
Royal Princess of all 141,000 gross tonnes has a 3,600 passenger /1,300 crew total and had berthed alongside Cobh from where her newer sister Regal Princess also called late last month.
More cruiseships from the Carnival Corporation brand have visited Cobh down through the years among them Cunard Line's Queen Elizabeth.
Elder sister Queen Victoria as previously reported is on a 'Remembering Lusitania' commemorative cruise to Cobh this Thursday, the day the liner sank a century ago during WWI when U-Boat 20 fired a torpedo that led to a huge loss of life.
Royal Princess had sailed from Ponta Delgada, Azores and likewise the 112,894 tonnes Caribbean Princess with up to 3,100 passengers.
Another double-take is that both vessels were built by Fincantieri in Monfalcone, Italy and equally they draw the same draft of 8.5m.
As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the cruise-quay facility at Cobh recently underwent phase one of €1.5m upgrade to facilitate even larger cruiseships, notably RCI's mega 'Quantum' class of 347m in length. These massive 168,000 tonnes cruiseships with almost 5,000 passengers are expected to visit the Port of Cork's Cobh Cruise Terminal but not until at least 2017.
The facility can currently accommodate two cruiseships at the same time though in comparison notably smaller sized ships to what the future holds.
So where in the case of today's double call scenario did the 3,100 passenger Caribbean Princess go to berth? The large 'Grand' class cruiseship had sailed beyond Cobh to another deepwater quay alongside Ringaskiddy.
This is where Cunard Line's 'liner' 'QE2' had berthed as well as to Cobh where she bade her final farewell visit in 2008. Her successor Queen Mary 2 has made calls to the lower Cork Harbour town cruise destination.
As for the Princess pair they are scheduled to depart this evening half an hour apart from 20.00hrs. In total the port is expected to see 55 cruise calls this season.