#CancelledCruiseCall – The longest ever cruiseship to visit Dublin Port, MSC Splendida at 333m long has again cancelled another call due off Dun Laoghaire Harbour this weekend, writes Jehan Ashmore.
This is the third cancellation of the giant Italian flagged cruiseship with up to 3,200 passengers that was originally scheduled to anchor off Dun Laoghaire Harbour on Saturday. Instead, the 18 deck cruiseship of 137,926 tonnes vessel continuous to favour calling to neighbouring Dublin Port.
Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company currently await a decision from An Bord Pleanala on a €18m single cruise-berth facilty to enable such large cruiseships to enter the port.
The decision not to anchor off Dun Laoghaire Harbour by operator, Mediterranean Shipping Cruises (MSC) follows what they previously cited back in May, when MSC Splendida docked directly inside Dublin Port, without the need to tender and giving more time for their passengers to visit the capital.
This latest cancellation by MSC brings the number of cruise cancellations to at least 11, that's half the record total of the 22 ships scheduled for the Dun Laoghaire cruise season in 2015.
Another big visitor, Royal Princess with up to 3,600 passengers, has already cancelled 8 of her scheduled 9 cruise calls to Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The 19 deck Princess Cruises 142,714grt tonnes vessel made the once-off visit during her maiden anchorage call off Dun Laoghaire in May.
Again these cancellations by the US operator were based as for the same reasons by MSC, in choosing Dublin Port over Dun Laoghaire.
All is not lost for the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company's cruise season, as a cruise ship is expected to call next month, again based on an anchorage call.
It has not all been plain sailing for Dublin Port, as due to strong winds, this led to the cancellation of Royal Princess with up to 3,600 passengers on board last month.
The weather conditions deemed it too difficult to berth the 330m long cruiseship astern (in reverse) to Alexandra Basin. The 142, 714 tonnes ship, also Italian built was diverted to Liverpool Cruise Terminal.
The location of Alexandra Basin is where Dublin Port's €230m redevelopment was granted planning permission to include a dedicated double-berth cruise terminal.
The project will remove the need for such large, long and deeper ships to enter the port in reverse and instead they will enter the port conventionally. A new quayside configuration will enable these giant cruiseships to turn in a swinging basin to berth alongside North Wall Quay Extension.