#NewCruiseShip – A new cruiseship, Mein Schiff 4 with a capacity for 2,506 passengers and more than 1,000 crew is to make her Irish maiden cruise with a debut call offshore of Dun Laoghaire Harbour next week, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Operating the Finnish built 99,500 tonnes vessel launched in late 2014 for TUI Cruises, the Mein Schiff 4 (My Ship 4) is to call to Dun Laoghaire. She will make the inaugural Irish port of call for the German based joint venture tourist group.
Mein Schiff features a 25m swimming pool, basketball court, sauna with sea view and where her guests can expect to pay €5,495 for a suite on the 10-day cruise.
The visit of TUI Cruises has been welcomed by Dun Laoghaire Harbour as German tourists are to celebrate in the searching of a slice of their ‘Irishness’ and where traditional music session will greet the visitors ashore.
Also taking place this month is the annual Oktoberfest held in Dublin, where currently the German Navy tallship Gorch Fock is berthed as previously reported. Tours of the vessel are this Saturday, for further details visit the story.
Secondly, a corvette also from the German Navy is to call later this month to Dun Laoghaire. Afloat will have more on this in a separate report covered on our Naval Visitors page.
Returning to the cruise sector, unlike the previous giant white-hulled cruiseships, Mein Schiff 4 sports a deep blue hull with the company’s distinctive livery. This is conveyed through hand-written like script with words spread across her amidships.
She is the second of almost four identical sisters based on an order from Finnish yard, Meyer Turku.
The next pair, Mein Schiff 5 is due for delivery in 2016 and final sister, Mein Schiff 6 will follow in 2017. The yard was taken over by the German shipbuilder earlier this year, resulting in the end of the Finnish Government stake-holding.
The call of Mein Schiff 4 on 18 September, will represent the end of the 2015 season to Dun Laoghaire.
Earlier this year it had been expected the season would be record-breaking with 22 cruise calls, however the scheduled figure have been considerably reduced by around a half.
The reason for this spate of cancellations throughout the summer by the largest cruiseships, notably the majority from Princess Cruises 3,600 passenger Royal Princess which instead went to Dublin Port to avoid the issue of anchoring off Dun Laoghaire.
Such a process is time-consuming for operators in having to transfer passengers ashore to the south Dublin Bay harbour.
The Royal Princess had only made a once off call off Dun Laoghaire that launched the season in May. All of the subsequent 8 calls were cancelled and transferred to Dublin Port which was given the ‘green’ light to proceed with a €30m double cruise-berth terminal.
While, DLHC await planning permission for a €18m single cruise-berth facility, all was not lost as the harbour welcomed the return for the second time in recent years of the prestigious Cunard 148,500 tonne cruise-liner, Queen Mary 2 which called also in May.
Another positive for DLHC was the repeat calls this season by Windstar Cruises sail-assisted five-masted Wind Surf that docked inside the harbour.
Also making calls within the harbour arms at the Carlisle Pier was Windstar Cruises newly acquired Star Legend. She previously made an appearance last year when under the ownership of Seabourn Cruises.