#Cruiseliners - Anchored off Dunmore East, Waterford Estuary this morning is the 'Solstice' class Celebrity Silhouette, which had sailed overnight from Cork (Cobh) Harbour, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Dunmore East, a fishing harbour village set in beautiful surroundings is a gateway for cruise visitors. Tenders from the Celebrity Cruises ship are is use to disembark those ashore and begin exploring the local attractions and activities. In addition the south-east region offers destinations beyond Waterford in the neighbouring counties.
Asides today's call by Celebrity Silhouette, Port of Waterford is set to welcome a further four cruisecallers with Azamara Pursuit due next on August 26th. The remaining trio call next month, marking the season's end. Brillance of the Seas is scheduled on September 3rd, Ocean Majesty on the 4th and the concluding caller will be Nautica on the 24th.
Afloat has calculated the total passenger capacity of the quartet of cruiseships to be 4,475 passengers. Based from this, the call of Celebrity Silhouette, given its capacity of 2,850 alone clearly demonstrates the importance of these considerably larger cruiseships to Waterford estuary. Smaller cruisecallers though with potentially high-spending clientele, head to Belview Port and upriver on the Suir along Waterford City quays.
According to the recently published Dept. of Transport's: Transport Trends report, the cruiseship sector is an increasingly important element of maritime activity in Irish waters. The number of cruiseship visits grew by 12% from 209 in 2016 to 234 in 2017, while the number of cruise ship passengers rose by 19% to 264,763 in 2017.
The call of the 122,000 tonnes Celebrity Silhouette is a boost to the local ecomony as the Port of Waterford has faired less compared to other ports. This was a conclusion drawn from the report, as Waterford had 37% fewer cruise passengers last year than in 2016 at 4,710.
Not suprisingly, the larger main ports of Dublin and Cork dominated the cruiseship market in 2017. According to CSO figures compiled in the report, these ports combined hosted 83% of ship visits and 93% of the passengers.
Among the callers to Dublin Port this season, is Celebrity Silhouette which notably for the first time was homeported in the capital port. As reported earlier this year, the US based Celebrity Cruises was estimated to handle over 14,000 people start their holiday from Dublin Port. The Maltese flagged ship easily became the largest such cruiseship to do.
The concept of homeporting in Dublin Port is not unique as last year, the capital port welcomed Cruise & Maritime Voyages 46,000 tonnes Magellan. The 1,250 passenger cruiseship continues this season to offer direct no-fly cruises.
In addition the Bahamas flagged Magellen makes a new departure this year as CMV will from next month also offer direct cruises from Cork.
In May and June 2019, Celebrity are to deploy Celebrity Reflection which is scheduled to sail from Dublin as part of a mini-season offering five cruises from Ireland.