The Port of Cork will welcome MV Boudicca, the final cruise liner of the 2015 season to Cobh tomorrow following another very successful cruise season for the Port of Cork.
2015 has been the most significant year to date for the Port of Cork, not in the number of ships but in their increased passenger carrying capacity. In total, 55 cruise liners called to the Port of Cork, home to Ireland’s only dedicated cruise berth, carrying a record 145,000 passengers and crew. These visitors bring a much needed boost to the local economy for eight months of the year.
In 2015, 10 liners made their maiden call to the Port of Cork and 20 vessels called which were greater than 330 metres in length and carried in excess of 3,000 passengers.
The continuing trend with the major cruise lines is for bigger vessels of 300-350 metre lengths and a capacity of 3,000 – 5,000 passengers. Captain Michael McCarthy, Commercial Manager of the Port of Cork commented: “if Ireland aspires to grow its cruise sector and capitalise on this continuing expansion, the main cruise regions of Dublin, Cork and Belfast will need to review their cruise strategy and upgrade their berthing options. The cruise companies has confidence in the sector as is evident from their investment so it is now time for the EU, Irish Government, regional authorities, chambers and tourism bodies to have equal confidence in the sector and back the necessary infrastructure. The cruise sector is unique in that the cities and regions are the main beneficiaries of cruise calls with an estimated spend of €15m in the south of Ireland alone this year from vessels visiting Cork Harbour”.
Earlier this year, the Port of Cork invested over €1.5 million in upgrading facilities at Cobh Cruise Terminal, with the installation of a number of high load 150 tonne mooring bollards which will enable even larger ships to berth into the future. Construction was complete by mid-April 2015, in time for the start of the 2015 cruise season which got underway with the berthing of the “Regal Princess” on the 25th April. The Port of Cork Company is committed to developing the cruise business into Cork and this upgrade of the cruise berth will ensure that Cobh and Cork Harbour can accommodate the largest vessels visiting Europe for the foreseeable future. The Port of Cork’s dedicated cruise berth offers a genuine unrestricted berthing at any stage of the tide on a 24/7 schedule. The booking schedule for 2016 looks very promising and the Port expects to considerably increase the number of calls and passengers to the region.
Following this excellent cruise season, the Port of Cork would like to express their thanks to all their Cork Cruise members, Irish Rail, tourist ambassador volunteers, Cobh Tidy Towns, tour operators, bus companies, travel agents and the many different attractions around the region for their continued support and cooperation with the cruise business.