#TheQueenReturns – Queen Mary 2 of 151,000 tonnes, the world's only cruise-'liner' anchored offshore of Dun Laoghaire Harbour today, however despite the prestigious Cunard Line visitor another massive cruiseship has cancelled a call for tomorrow, writes Jehan Ashmore.
MSC Splendida of 137,000 tonnes was scheduled tomorrow to anchor off Dun Laoghaire, instead her owners MSC Cruises have decided to abandon the harbour as prevously reported on Afloat.ie and instead dock in Dublin Port on the same day. This is the second time this has happened as MSC Splendida was to open the season on 11 May but instead called to Dublin Port.
In response to this latest cancellation, Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company have expressed dismay over the change of plans having carried out preparations for the anticipated visit with a passenger capacity of 3,200 passengers.
This season's record cruise season had started with 22 callers, however this is set to further reduce as yet another even larger cruiseship in the form of Royal Princess, 142,000 tonnes is also understood to have cancelled calling off Dun Laoghaire Harbour this Sunday. According to the Dublin Port cruise-schedule, Royal Princess of 3,600 capacity is to berth in Alexandra Basin on that same day over the weekend.
Afloat.ie await a response from DLHC as to the reasons why the Princess Cruises 2013 built Royal Princess is to be the second cancellation within this week. (This cruiseship had only last week made her maiden call off the harbour.)
When MSC Splendida calls to Dublin Port tomorrow in the early hours, this will be her second time following last week's port record that made maritime history as the largest cruise ship ever to dock in Dublin Port. She was also the longest cruiseship to the port at 333m and is one of 83 cruiseships scheduled to call to the capital.
On that maiden occasion MSC Cruises staff were "blown away" by the amount of people lining the Liffey to wave it off as the 2009 built MSC Splendida is ranked the 11th longest cruiseship in the world. Due to such dimensions the cruiseship had to enter the port in 'reverse' as the turning circle leading to her berth in Alexandra Basin West is too confined.
Queen Mary 2 had arrived from Cobh overnight and her second call (see report) off Dun Loaghaire today will see potentially up to 3,000 passengers arrive by tender to the harbour.
Another five star welcome is in store for the cruise-tourists who will be greeted by a piper and Irish dancers, tour guides, free wireless and business offers after docking at the Coal Harbour.
The 'Cunarder' measures 345m long and so beats off MSC Splendida, however her deeper draft prevents calls to both Dun Laoghaire Harbour and Dublin Port.
Both ports on Dublin Bay are proposing separate cruise-berth facilities to cater for such giant ships and even larger 'next generation' cruiseships.