Following a first call of Ocean Altantic to Dun Laoghaire Harbour on Monday, the small yet heavily ice-strengthened hulled vessel returned to the port a mere three days later, writes Jehan Ashmore.
So why the return?... the answer lies in a round trip laid on by operator Albatros Expeditions for the cruise industry's travel trade which involved a mini-taster cruise and apt given its destination, Islay. The Scottish island renowned for it's whisky distilleries, is the southernmost of the Inner Hebrides islands located off the nation's south-west coast.
Afloat has also learnt that the 190 passenger capacity cruiseship prior to its debut call to Dun Laoghaire had made a repositioning voyage from Antarctica via Las Palmas, Canary Islands. At this location, the 12,000 gross tonnage ship received a refit in advance of the summer season and was not carrying passengers during its voyage on the Atlantic to the Irish east coast port.
Albratros Expeditions which during its 20 year career has included cruising in the Arctic, was recognisied at a reception held by Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council. The local authority welcomed the Greenland and Danish based operator during a reception hosted by the council's An Cathaoirleach, Ossian Smyth.
As the operator is a new customer to Dun Laoghaire Harbour, this brings to three cruise companies operating this season and in between them handling 6 calls in total. The season runs until September and is set against the backdrop of a recent decision by DLRCoCo to abandon an application for a €30m cruise-berth jetty.
It was on the second call to Dun Laoghaire that Ocean Atlantic initially took anchorage prior to calling within the embracing harbour arms last Thursday. Likewise of the maiden call to the Irish port, the former Soviet era built vessel and last of seven Dmitriy-Shostakovich-class ships took a berth alongside the Carlisle Pier.
The sturdy and businesslike vessel loaded stores using the cruiseship's starboard side ro-ro door located close to the stern. It is understood a stern door was originally fitted when built in 1986 at a Polish shipyard. The somewhat squat superstucture consists of three decks but there are a further six decks within the hull. As for passenger facilities some of which were previously described on Monday's report.
Ocean Atlantic departed Dun Laoghaire later on Thursday having embarked cruise-paying passengers and on a much longer cruise. The Bahama flagged cruiseship set again a northbound passage through the Irish Sea to Scotland and on this occasion the first port of call was Campbeltown on the Mull of Kintyre.