#CruiseRosslare – Afloat in April reported on the planned visit of the first cruiseship to Rosslare in twenty years, this took place at the Co. Wexford ferryport this morning, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Rosslare Europort welcomed Fred Olsen Lines MS Braemar with 780 passengers and 380 crew which docked at around 06.30. Last year a similar sized capacity cruiseship, Albatross had to cancel an anchorage visit due to bad weather.
On this occasion, Braemar’s call is part of an 11-day “Closer to the UK and Ireland” cruise. The cruise began in Southampton and a scheduled itinerary included calls to Dundee, Lerwick, Fingal’s Cave, Invergordan. The cruiseship sailed overnight having called yesterday alongside to Liverpool Landing Stage.
Braemar’s cruise business to Rosslare Europort, operated by Irish Rail (Iarnród Éireann) will it be hoped the first of many to promote the ‘Model’ county as a destination and an area to visit.
The 24,344 tonnes Braemar docked within the harbour at the inner pier and on the adjacent berth was Irish Ferries Pembroke route ferry Isle of Inishmore. On the outer pier was Stena Line’s Fishguard route ferry, Stena Europe.
Cruise-goers will be exploring the Wexford region by taking pre-arranged excursions to Tintern Abbey, Wells House, Kilmore Quay, the Irish National Heritage Park and the Dunbrody Famine Emigrant Ship in New Ross.
At almost 196 metres in length, Braemar, lengthened in 2008, is the longest vessel to visit Rosslare ferryport from where both operators also have routes to France. Fred Olsen acquired the 1993 built Cunard Crown Dynasty originally 19,089 gross tonnage. Renamed Braemar, they inserted a 31 metre mid-section to boost capacity (729 cabins increased to 988) inclusion of a lounge and swimming pools.
The cruiseship’s call will for ferry fans will echoe memories of former French routes serving Saint Killian II, which too was stretched by just one metre more than Braemar. The ferry became 156m long compared to the much longer cruiseship.
Braemar presents a graceful slick appearance likewise of the ‘Killian’, albeit with a new livery applied this season of a half grey hull. This compared to the familiar previous all white scheme, so perhaps this latest look is not necessary the most appealing?
At 13,638 gross tonnage, the stretched Saint Killian II then in 1982 was the largest Irish-flagged ferry which served Irish Continental Line. She made a promotional once only call to Dun Laoghaire Harbour. For almost the next two decades she served a career to include Irish Ferries also out of Cork on routes to France (since closed).
On completion of Braemar’s visit today, this will have consolidated the work in the establishment of a Working Group led by Rosslare Europort’s General Manager John Lynch, representatives of Wexford County Council and Fáilte Ireland and supported by Visit Wexford.
Combined they have worked on developing the cruise business at Rosslare to target the further expansion of cruise ship business at the port.
Braemar’s only visit to an Irish port of this cruise will be followed by a final port of call to Falmouth.