#FinalCaller – Five masts, each 221ft towered above Dun Laoghaire Harbour’s Carlisle Pier as US luxury operator, WindStar Cruises motor sail-assisted flagship Wind Surf made the last call of the season, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The 14,000 gross tonnage Wind Surf had made a cruise turn around in the south Dublin Bay harbour. With a 312 capacity, Wind Surf was among eight callers this year bringing around 10,000 tourists and crew to the harbour's hinterland and visitor attractions.
In fact, Wind Surf has been the most frequent visitor since Dun Laoghaire welcomed back cruiseships on a more concerted basis that began in 2011. The cruiseship business is the only commercial shipping sector since Stena Line withdrew their HSS fast-ferry service to Holyhead, Wales in 2014.
WindStars customers arrived at Carlisle Pier to board Wind Surf that departed yesterday evening, it was observed the departure involved a pilot cutter from Dublin Port to guide the vessel into the bay. While at the same time some of her self-furling computer operated sails were unveiled.
The cruise first port of call is an anchorage visit off Dunmore East today on the Waterford estuary. She then heads for Tresco, Scilly Isles, Brest, France, followed by a day at sea in the Bay of Biscay bound for Ferrol and Vigo in Spain, Leixoes in neighbouring Portugal and culminating in the capital, Lisbon. From thereon, Wind Surf returns to her programme of Mediterranean cruising.
According to DLHC a variety of cruise calls from vessels holding 100 to almost 3,000 passengers arrived from the newly refurbished Hebridean Sky to the larger newcomer, TUI Cruises Mein Schiff 1 that anchored offshore aswell as Celebrity Silhouette, which made an appearance last year.
Six out of the 8 cruise ships visiting this summer berthed alongside Carlisle Pier from where passengers had the short stroll to the town centre.
Welcoming visitors to the town were Dun Laoghaire County Council town ambassadors and volunteers from the DLR Volunteer centre that created a great atmosphere.
Carolyn Hanaphy of Dun Laoghaire Harbour today said “We await the planning decision from An Bord Pleanala about our proposed cruise berth, such that we can attract over 100,000 cruise passengers per year.”
The season for 2017 will see half the total of callers, when four calls are scheduled by two cruiseships. Again they will be made by repeat cruise clients, WindStar represented by their Wind Surf and Star Legend.