Cruiseships visiting Dun Laoghaire Harbour have reached beyond the half-way mark this season as the fourth of six scheduled callers berthed this morning, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Windstar Cruises Star Pride arrived to the south Dublin Bay port having made an overnight passage from Dunmore East, Co. Waterford. This involved an anchorage call off the south-east fishing harbour though the Port of Waterford recieves callers that includes the city.
Cruisegoers of up to 208 passengers on board the small all-suite luxury cruiseship which has a crew of 164 is to remain in Dun Laoghaire up to 18.00hrs when a cruise departs from Carlisle Pier. The 8-day Gaelic Explorers cruise is to take guests to locations among them Isle of Man, Portrush (for the Giant's Causeway), the west coast of Scotland, Invergordan and finally Edinburgh (Leith).
Currently the operator's online brochure fare for the cruise of $7399 has been reduced to $3,499 per person. Guests on the cruise will be pampered in 106 suites, including two deluxe Owners' Suites, four Classic Suites, and 100 Balcony and Ocean View suites.
Windstar Cruises fleet asides conventional tonnage has sail-assisted cruiseships including Windsurf, the most frequent caller to Dun Laoghaire Harbour since the cruise sector business was targeted with concerted efforts in 2011. Since then the US operator has been a regular caller and recently they won the Best Small Ship Cruise Line for the Second Year in a Row in the 2019 TravelAge West Wave Awards.
A clear indicator in business confidence by Windstar is the investment in a $250m 'Star Plus' initiative. According to the cruise company this will be the most complex and comprehensive small ship lengthening, engine replacement, and renovation project undertaken in cruising.
The Star Plus project will see Windstar take half of its entire fleet to be renovated in succession starting with Star Breeze, Star Legend, and finally Star Pride.
In April this year, work began on the first steel cutting in preparation for the first ship to undergo the renovation at Fincantieri’s Arsenale Triestino San Marco shipyard in Trieste, Italy. The first of the cruiseship trio to recieve work will be Star Breeze in October 2019 and this is scheduled to end with the departure of Star Pride from the yard in November 2020.
In the public areas renovation is to include two new dining venues, a spa, infinity pool and fitness area. The luxury ships will also boast new bathrooms in every suite and a new category of Star suites, featuring a new layout. The suites with ocean-views will have 277 square feet of comfort.
These small yet popular ships will be cut in half to allow the installation of a new stepped mid-body section that will lengthen each vessel by approximately 25 meters.
The total capacity of these expanded ships will be increased to 312 guests.
In order to reflect the enlarged cruiseship trio, additional crew will be hired in order to maintain the luxury operator's impressive 1.5 to 1 guest-to-service staff ratio.