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Belgravia Based Luxury Operator's Newest Addition Makes Dun Laoghaire Debut

10th June 2016
Sea Explorer which in Spring was renamed Hebridean Sky following a multi-million refurbishment for Noble Caledonia made a first call to Dun Laoghaire Harbour today Sea Explorer which in Spring was renamed Hebridean Sky following a multi-million refurbishment for Noble Caledonia made a first call to Dun Laoghaire Harbour today Photo: Afloat.ie

#LuxuryMarket - Noble Caledonia's headquarters in London is close to the Irish Embassy in exclusive Belgravia, and the connection with this operator and our country was made when their newest cruiseship addition called for the first time to Dun Laoghaire Harbour today, writes Jehan Ashmore.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, Hebridean Sky was re-launched by Noble Caledonia having been the Sea Explorer 1. In fact, the luxury small ship Hebridean Sky was completed in 1991, the same year Noble Caledonia was established. Not only was there a change of name but also the 114 guest capacity vessel is fresh from a Spring time multi-million refurbishment to upgrade both the technical and interior of this vessel serving in the high-end luxury small ship cruise market.  The ‘Sky’s next port of call was to Portrush.

She joins a pair of sisterships that are more akin to private yachts and form part of a large yet small ship cruise fleet (including river cruising vessels) operated by Noble Caledonia. The trio of flagship sisters (out of an original order of eight vessels) were all built in the same ship yard in Italy at similar times. They share attributes that make them among the finest small ships in the world. A competitor for example, Hapag Lloyd’s Bremen last week visited Bere Island, Co. Kerry.

Hebridean Sky is also noted for been the first cruiseship to dock alongside Dun Laoghaire’s upgraded Carlisle Pier, which Afloat reported back in April. The works included installing new fenders to berth No. 2 so to improve berthing infrastructure for small cruise ships and repairs to the outer pier piles.

These works costing in the region of €1m investment also involved repairs to a storm damaged stretch of the upper tier of the East Pier. This important public amenity attracts locals and cruise visitors alike and boasts the largest footfall of any Irish pier.

The Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company have already welcomed the season’s debut caller, Mein Schiff 4 last month. Asides ‘Sky’s call a further six callers are scheduled, in which she is due back mid-August. Of these calls, just one remains of a much larger and deeper draft cruiseship, the debut in July of Celebrity Silhouette with a 2,886 passenger capacity and 1,525 crew.

The call to Dun Laoghaire of the giant 122,400 'Solstice' class ship operated by Celebrity Cruises is due to tidal restictions in Dublin Port that day. Otherwise the ship will make two calls to the capital this season.

 

Published in Cruise Liners
Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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