#BantryBay - Sea Explorer I entered the scenic seclusion of Glengariff in Bantry Bay today and where the mere 90m vessel of 4,200 tonnes anchored off Garnish Island, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The 114 guest luxury small ship, part of the cruise agency operator Noble Caledonia fleet is according to Bantry Bay Port Company schedule to be the only caller so far listed for 2015.
Accommodation of the 1991 Italian built vessel is of 57 spacious suites and all outside with an average of 245 sq ft. Facilities offered are of a high standard albeit on board an intimate sized ship.
Yesterday she had been to St. Peter Port, Guernsey again at an anchorage along with Cunard Line's 90,080 tonnes Queen Victoria. The Cunarder had departed Southampton at the weekend to mark the start of the company's 175th anniversary with a celebratory cruise in company down Solent water.
Tomorrow she calls to Cobh on the centenary of the RMS Lusitania disaster during WW1.
Last month the Port of Cork outlined plans for Phase 1 of the Bantry Inner Harbour Development (incl 20-berth marina) which will be undertaken on behalf of its subsidiary company, Bantry Bay Port Company.
Over two years ago Sea Explorer (see photo) arrived to Dun Laoghaire Harbour albeit in a 'lay-up' mode in advance to taking up a European season with cruises starting in June 2013.
She is equipped with Zodiacs for expedition landings and for reaching isolated locations.
Another expedition / polar cruiseship Fram with 400 passengers and operated by Norwegia based Hurtigruten was understood to be the first caller to Galway Harbour this season.
The call of the Fram took place at the end of April and likewise of the 'Explorer' this involved anchoring offshore.