#CruiseFerry – Royal Princess, one of the largest cruiseships ever to visit Irish waters this week anchored offshore of Dun Laoghaire Harbour yet required the charter of a ferryboat to assist in tendering passengers ashore, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Having watched the ferryboat, Glor na Farraige make her first departure last Tuesday morning out to the anchored massive 142,714 tonnes owned by Princess Cruises, the 3,600 passenger capacity ship's agents had chartered the 244 passenger ferry to transport those between the 8.5m draft ship and the harbour.
On the evening of Royal Princess's departure, the Fireball dinghy racing in Dublin Bay, under the burgee of DBSC was cancelled as previously reported on Afloat.ie. This was due to a combination of 'mother' nature and increased traffic from the ferryboat movements and flotilla of tenders that prevented dinghy racing from within the harbour.
It is not known exactly as to why the cruiseship which is larger than 137,936 tonnes MSC Splendida (see historic Dubin Port docking) had called in for the use of the Aran Island Ferries vessel. Normally cruise ships during anchorage calls rely on their own flotilla of tenders to transfer those ashore.
According to a Dun Laoghaire Harbour spokesperson, future arrangements of a ferryboat tender will be at the discretion of visiting ships during this record-breaking season of 21 callers bringing almost 100,000 passengers and crew.
Next week sees the return off Dun Laoghaire Harbour of Cunard Line's cruise-'liner' Queen Mary 2 which made her maiden call of the south Dublin Bay port this month two years ago.
The French built giant at 151,400 tonnes is to call on 20 May (Wednesday), where the 3,000 passenger / 1,300 crew cruise caller will transport those on board the liner's tenders to disembark at the purpose-built pontoon (as pictured) in Dun Laoghaire Harbour.
The cruise-tender facility was completed in advance of the 2013 call of the famous 'Cunarder' at the harbour's inner Coal Harbour, which is accessed through the marina from where the proposed €18m cruise-berth is to be extended from.
It is from the marina's eastern breakwater near the former Stena HSS fast-ferry berth, that a 435m jetty would run almost into the centre of the harbour.
This is to accommodate the 'next generation' of cruiseships (up to 340m long that is to say Dun Laoghaire only) that would be even longer and larger than the 'Royal' and forthcoming 'Queen'.