#CelebrityCaller- Celebrity Cruises, the brand with the iconic 'X' on their funnels are the next operator to visit Dun Laoghaire Harbour when Celebrity Silhouette makes her maiden call offshore of the port next Sunday, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The call of the 122,400 tonnes 'Solstice' class cruiseship with an occupancy capacity of 2,886 passengers has been greeted by the Dun Laoghaire Cruise Stakeholder Group which will be putting into place a welcome programme for the arrival of the operator whose origins are from the Greek Chandris Group. They had ships with a chi, a letter of the Greek alphabet on their funnels, in which the tradition continues as in the case of the 'Silhouette' which has a pair of funnels like those liners of the past.
As the cruise-class name suggests, the 'Solstice' was the first in the industry to utilize solar technology and where some of the solar panels provide shade within the ship's Solarium. The power is also used on the 318m long Celebrity Silhouette for energy production.
Also this month, the intimate 310-guest Wind Surf makes a return visit this year on 29 June. The distinctive five-masted Windstar Cruises vessel that has computer-assisted sails will also be the attention of the DCSG as specially devised events are organised (to season ending September) to ensure passengers take the maximum advantage of what the town has to offer.
Wind Surf which is only 162m long has been the most frequent 'in-harbour' caller since the cruise business was revived in the south Dublin Bay port in 2011.
It was in 2002 that Celebrity Cruise made a previous call off Dun Laoghaire Harbour with the 294m 'Millennium' class Constellation. She made for then an impressive debut as the 90,000 tonnes cruiseship (renamed in 2007) anchored offshore during an inaugural cruise of north-west Europe.
This year's record season of 22 cruise calls for Dun Laoghaire Harbour has fallen to 18 as previously reported on Afloat.ie. Cancellations were made twice by MSC Splendida and likewise of Royal Princess which together have favoured Dublin Port instead as this avoided tendering passengers ashore and allowing more time for guests to spend time in the capital.
It transpires that the 137,000 tonnes MSC Splendida however will finally make a debut at anchor off Dun Laoghaire on 29 August. This will bring a boost to the harbour having firstly cancelled the opening cruise season call last month which led Royal Princess by default to launch the season on 12 May.
Royal Princess which is even larger than MSC Splendida in passenger terms with 3,600 as well as tonnage of 142,000 tonnes made her second docking in Dublin Port on Friday. The Princess Cruises giant berthed within Alexandra Basin.
The 19-deck cruiseship towered above the industrial skyline of the port estate where the new incinerator complex is currently under construction.