#WestIslandsCruising - Two former Norwegian 'Hurtigruten' Coastal Express Voyage ships today visited the west coasts of Ireland and the UK, where passengers on board experienced totally contrasting scenery, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Anchored off the Dingle Peninula Co. Kerry this evening is National Geographic / Lindblad Expedition cruises small ship National Geographic Explorer (1982/6,471grt) which arrived from the Isles of Scilly.
The former Lyngen which took on other names since becoming a full-time cruise ship is understood to be calling next to the stunning Skelligs that pierce out of the Atlantic.
Having boarded the 'Explorer' during an anchorage call off Inishmore, Aran Islands in 2008, the on board library been of National Geographic Magazine fame was not surprisingly well-stocked!
While making this ship visit, it was particularly noted how rebuilt the former Norwegian coastal cargo-car-carrying ferry/cruise ship had undergone conversion. The ship prior to then had served the routine Bergen-Kirkenes circuit.
The work involved a new extended aft gym structure on the top-deck. Also the fitting of a stability ducktail sponson at the stern which dipped up and down in the swell offshore of the island's Kilronan Harbour.
A Hurtigruten vessel that is currently in the fleet, Fram (2007/11.647grt) which unlike her counterparts is designed primarily as a polar expedition cruiseship was in nearby waters of the Natiional Geographic Explorer. As the 418 passenger vessel had anchored in Galway Bay off the city at the end of last month.
As for the second former Hurtigruten ship, Serenissima (1960/2,598grt) which today visited the Scilly Isles, the low-lying archipelago off the Cornish coast. This former fjord fleetmate was the Harald Jarl that in her current role had anchored off St. Mary's the main island. It is also understood she is to be making a next port of call across the English Channel to St. Peter Port, Guernsey.
Serenissima was particularly smart (see photo) when within Dun Laoghaire Harbour in 2013 and year one after the revived cruise business began. She berthed at the Carlisle Pier while on the same day of Serenissima Cruises port call in stark contrast the giant Cunard flagship liner, Queen Mary 2 anchored on her maiden call off the south Dublin Bay harbour.
This evening Royal Princess which called to Cobh is underway. It will be the turn of the Princess Cruises 3,600 passenger caller as previously reported to make her maiden visit off Dun Laoghaire Harbour in the morning.