Operators of the largest ship ever to dock in the capital, MSC Cruises cited their decision to call to Dublin Port having cancelled a scheduled anchorage call off Dun Laoghaire Harbour for today was due to positive passenger feedback been so close to the city, allowing more time to spend ashore.
In fact the visit of the 3,200 capacity MSC Splendida is much longer than the average port of call at almost a total of 31 hours berthed alongside Alexandra Basin West. The longest quay for such massive cruiseships was reserved for the port's longest ever cruiseship at 333m. As such this prevented her to swing in the confines of the turning circle hence an arrival astern to berth in the basin.
She departs from the basin's Ocean Pier at 23.00 tonight.
The decision to change Dublin Bay destination is a double blow to Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company which expressed dismay as this was the second time MSC Cruises have cancelled. The massive cruiseship was to launch the season on 11 May. This would of involved the transfer of passengers ashore by tenders to and from the harbour.
Instead the first caller of a now reduced record-breaking season of 22 callers to Dun Laoghaire was left to Princess Cruises 3,600 passenger Royal Princess which made her maiden call off the harbour last week.
It will be a case of deja-vu not just because of today's MSC Splendida's repeat reverse call but that Royal Princess is to cancel her next call this Sunday off Dun Laoghaire. She is to steer a course across the bay for a first call to Dublin Port with an arrival time from 05.30.
In the meantime, tonight the 3,900 passenger capacity MSC Splendida is to depart at 23.00 and head northwards to Greenock Cruise Terminal on the Clyde.
The Scottish terminal is where Queen Mary 2 docked today having made her second call in as many years yesterday off Dun Laoghaire Harbour bringing up to 3,000 passengers to visit the borough and beyond.