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#CruiseBerthProtests - A boat rally campaign against the proposed €18m cruise-berth for Dun Laoghaire Harbour saw some 25 yachts yesterday gather at short notice, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The flotilla formed a line tracing the position of where the proposed 390m long jetty would sit inside the harbour, almost occupying the centre of the south Dublin Bay port. The cruise-berth would be able to accomodate some of the largest cruiseships in the world.

Dun Laoghaire harbour protest against cruise berth

The boat rally was held in advance of the first official oral hearings to be held by An Bord Pleanala next week. The hearing will examine submissions lodged to An Bord Pleanala on the controversial issue of an application by Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company (DLHC) for planning permission to construct the facility.  In total 150 submissions were lodged following a public consultation process when the harbour company unveiled its cruise-berth plans during Easter.

Critics of the cruise liner project say the new pier structure would split the harbour in two, bringing an end to sailing across the broad expanse of the artificial built harbour which has been a tradition for many generations.

Also yesterday was held the People's Rally, where local T.D., Richard Boyd Barrett cited despite the fact that another public-owned harbour, Dubin Port with its own cruise-berth terminal would be competing in effect and that Dun Laoghaire would lose out.

Also it was claimed that the proposed cruise-berth would be a prelude to preparing the harbour for 'privatisation'.

Protestors claim from fears over the impacts of dredging and damage caused during construction and continued maintenance costs. Also how such a facility would pose on the unique heritage values of the harbour and public amenities was also raised.

Dun Laoghaire harbour protest

The DLHC is to be transferred to Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council, however the direction of the how the local authority would manage the port was also questioned against the backdrop of the Harbours (Amendment) Bill due before the Dail.

On completion of the rally held in the centre of the harbour, the yachts were joined by dinghy craft to form a larger flotilla in support of the People’s Rally held at the East Pier bandstand.

The first day of the oral hearing is to begin next Wednesday, 14 October.

Published in Cruise Liners

#CruiseBerth - Royal St George Yacht Club members will host a boat rally in Dun Laoghaire Harbour tomorrow Saturday 10 October at 1pm in support of the People's Rally against cruise liner berth proposals taking place at the same time at the People's Park.

Club members are called to meet with their boas at the harbour mouth for one hour, with the intention of massing a flotilla of boats in the shape and size of the proposed 435-metre cruise pier, which critics say could split the south Dublin harbour in two and bring to an end generations of harbour sailing.

The fleet will be chaperoned, choreographed and photographed on the day by Royal St George club members who will assist in club ribs on VHF channel 72.

The protest takes place just days before the first official oral hearing into the cruise berth plans, which have already faced more than 150 objections.

Published in Cruise Liners

#CruiseBerth - Objections to the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company's ambitious cruise liner terminal proposals face number more than 150 ahead of oral hearings into the plan, as The Irish Times reports.

And one submission, from the Water Wags Sailing Club, even draws on marine engineering experience to argue that the scheme as it stands poses "real and significant risks to the stability of the harbour piers".

The club's position was among a host of submissions to An Bord Pleanála along with those of local sailors, the harbour's long-standing yacht clubs and their representative body the Dun Laoghaire Combined Clubs (DLCC), which organised a briefing session earlier this week to advise members on making their own voices heard.

Complaints have highlighted environmental concerns around the dumping of silt from channel dredging necessary to accommodate larger cruise ships, and the impact a next-generation cruise liner terminal would have on recreational and sports boating in the South Dublin harbour, with campaigners previously calling for an 'alternative vision' for Dun Laoghaire that makes a virtue of its existing benefits.

Indeed, along with its own submission, the DLCC has made a proposal to Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council that the harbour be protected "as an outstanding recreational harbour and sporting amenity of national significance", and that the former Stena HSS terminal be repurposed as a 'National Watersports Academy' along the lines of the recently opened world-class facility at Pwllheli in North Wales.

The DLCC's presentation to DLRCoCo can be downloaded below.

Published in Cruise Liners

#CruiseBerth - The Dun Laoghaire Combined Clubs (DLCC) will host a briefing session tomorrow evening (Wednesday 30 September) ahead of next month's oral hearing on the Dun Laoghaire cruise liner berth plans.

The briefing, which starts at 7pm at the National Yacht Club, will advise club members on how to participate in An Bord Pleanála's oral hearing process, which begins with a preliminary meeting on Wednesday 7 October before the hearing proper commences on Wednesday 14 October.

The briefing will be conducted by Ann Mulcrone of Reid Associates, Planning Consultants, who has acted as chief co-ordinator for the submission prepared by the DLCC over the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company's proposals for a next-generation cruise liner berth in the harbour.

Published in Cruise Liners

#CruiseBerthHearings - At almost 100,000 tonnes Mein Schiff 4, the largest ever cruiseship to anchor so close to Dun Laoghaire Harbour yesterday, was also the same day that Afloat.ie learnt that An Bord Pleanála is to proceed with oral hearings into the planning application of the proposed yet controversial €18m cruise-berth, writes Jehan Ashmore.

An Bord Pleanála has advised that both of the oral hearings are to be begin next month. The hearings in October are been held in accordance with section 134 (I) of the Planning & Development Act 2000, in respect of the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company’ s planning application for the cruise-berth facility.

The proposed 435m long single cruise-berth jetty, associated structures and dredging of the channel off St. Michaels Wharf and a 500m turning circle outside the harbour entrance would enable ships considerably larger than Mein Schiff 4 to dock in the harbour. The new $625m German cruiseship had anchored less than one nautial mile off the East Pier during her her maiden call to the harbour following a visit to Belfast Harbour.

Last month a deadline expired for a public consultation process on the cruise-berth project in Dun Laoghaire Harbour that led to An Bord Pleanála receiving 150 submissions.

Due to the scale and complexity of the planning application, the board of An Bord Pleanála, has decided to hold a preliminary meeting on 7 October in advance of the more substantive oral hearing to be held a week later on 14 October. This second hearing is scheduled to run for approximately 8 days over two separate timeframes within that month.

A Senior Planning Inspector has been appointed by the board of An Bord Pleanála during the oral hearings regards the submissions and observations raised in regards to the likely effects on the environment of the proposed cruise-berth. In addition, the consequences for proper planning and sustainable development in the area are to be considered, and the likely effects on a European site will also be reported to the board.

This latest development on the oral hearings reported here on Afloat.ie follows a Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council meeting held earlier this week where, according to the Gazette, a request was made by local councillors for the An Bord Pleanála to conduct such hearings into the cruise berth project. A motion tabled by Cllr Victor Boylan (Ind) was held where 23 councillors were in favour of the oral hearing and 13 councillors voted against it.

Cllr Boyhan said he was “disappointed at the planning authority report drawn up by the council executive” and was therefore happy with the motion being passed to seek an oral hearing with An Bord Pleanála's planning inspector prior to a decision being made on the cruise berth.

He added: “I think it is significant that 150 people came together, and paid €50 per submission, to air their views on the proposed cruise berth plans.”

For more on the topic, click the local newspaper’s report here.

Published in Cruise Liners

#25mOffshorePool- Mein Schiff 4, the newest in a series of 99,500 tonnes cruiseships for German premium-class operator, TUI Cruises, made her maiden call offshore of Dun Laoghaire Harbour this morning, writes Jehan Ashmore.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the large cruiseship Mein Schiff which cost $625 million, called to Belfast Harbour yesterday, as part of her inaugural 11-day cruise of Britain & Ireland that is to return to Hamburg. The visit today of the 2,506 passenger / 1,030 crew Mein Schiff involved anchoring off Dun Laoghaire and marks the final cruiseship of this summer. For a list of cruise season 2016, Afloat.ie reveals by clicking here.

To give an impression of how long Mein Schiff 4 is, it would take a cruise-goer to swim almost 12 lengths on board the newbuilds notable 25m long swimming to match the ship’s overall length (LOA) of 294m. These large pools, are the first to feature on any cruiseship, that began with the newbuild’s sister, Mein Schiff 3 the leadship of a series that was delivered in 2013.

The swimming pool on Mein Schiff 4 is located on deck 12, however cruise-goers do have alternative choice of an indoor pool with a whirlpool. On a related but separate matter, is Dun Laoghaire Harbour's €2.5 million heated floating swimming pool inspired by the 'Badeschiff' in Berlin, which is to be constructed using a converted river barge at the East Pier following planning permission granted by An Bord Pleanála last year.

The ‘Urban Beach’ is a joint venture of Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company and Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council which in addition to the swimming pool (using treated seawater) is to feature an artificial beach, a cafe, changing area and other facilities. For a visual impression of the amenity to be built on the East Pier, click here.

It is off the East Pier's pierhead, is where the Mein Schiff 4 arrived to anchor and only within one nautical mile offshore. A fleet of her tenders are ferrying German speaking passengers to and fro to the harbour's cruise-pontoon located in the Coal Harbour.

Asides the swimming pool, there’s also a basketball court and sea views which can be seen from saunas, a feature that is not surprising given her Scandinavian builders, Meyer Turku, previously STX Finland that also built the leadship, Mein Schiff 3.

The introduction last month of the 15 deck newbuild Mein Schiff (clearly translating to ‘My Ship 4!) is for the German speaking market and where her guests have a wide choice of facilities with 11 restaurants and bistros, 11 bars and lounges. Among her entertainment options the outdoor arena is where a large LED is located as well as a cinema.

Mein Schiff boosts TUI’s fleet passenger total to 6,342 berths. She alone has accommodation for 1,253 cabins, of those 90% are outside and in which 82% feature balconies that can be up to 24m² in size.

For the added ultra-luxury of space and privacy are ten ‘Himmel und Meer Suiten’ (Sky & Sea Suites) that occupy an impressive two decks coupled with a 29m²roof terrace exclusively to client’s use.

TUI Cruises was formed in 2008 in a joint venture between TUI AG and Royal Caribbean Ltd.

Additional sisters are on order from Meyer Turku, part of the German shipyard group. They are to replace an existing pair of cruiseships Mein Schiff 2 and 3 (orginally from another operator) when they transfer to UK brand, Thompson Cruises.

Published in Cruise Liners

#NewCruiseVisitor – Belfast Harbour which expects 115,000 cruise-goers by end of season, welcomed a first time visitor this morning, the new Mein Schiff 4 which operates in the premium –German cruise market for TUI Cruises, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Mein Schiff 4 made the short overnight passage to Belfast from Greenock on the Clyde as part of an 11-day round trip cruise from Hamburg. She docked on the south bank downriver of the iconic H&W dockyards and neighbouring Titanic Quarter which has proved global visitor attraction appeal. Last year, Belfast Harbour achieved a record total of 114,000 cruise passengers.

The $625m newbuild of 99,500 tonnes was completed in late 2014 and is the second of series built in Finland. In fast she was completed only two days after the STX Finland Oy’s yard in Turku was taken over by German-owners to form the Meyer Turku yard in south-west Finland. She began her career carrying out several cruises last month to Baltic and Scandinavian capitals.

Since the introduction of the 15 deck cruiseship catering for the German-speaking market, Mein Schiff 4 (clearly translating to ‘My Ship 4’) has boosted TUI’s fleet passenger total to 6,342 berths.

She has a capacity for 2,506 passengers accommodated in 1,253 cabins in which 90% are outside and 82% feature cabins. Of those equipped with cabins, they are up to24 m² in size. In all, the newcomer offers 23 categories, which demonstrates a wide choice in the cruise industry.

Among her facilities are 11 restaurants and bistros, 11 bars and lounges. Among her recreational options, there’s a basketball course and sea views which can be seen from saunas.

She also boasts a first for the cruise industry, a 25m long swimming pool located on Deck 12. Elsewhere, is an indoor pool with a whirlpool when the weather is less favourable.

This evening Mein Schiff sets sail on a southbound course for Dun Laoghaire Harbour as previously reported on Afloat.ie where the new cruiseship is to anchor tomorrow offshore and bring passengers ashore by tender craft.

TUI Cruises was formed in 2008 in a joint venture between TUI AG and Royal Caribbean Ltd. The final sister in the newer ‘Mein Schiff’ series is due for delivery in 2019.

Published in Belfast Lough

#SOSharbour - A campaign by the Save Our Seafront has vowed to ramp-up its efforts to prevent a jumbo cruise berth being developed in Dun Laoghaire harbour.

The Herald reports that an eight-year planning application for the cruise berth is being considered by An Bord Pleanala.

At a recent public meeting, campaigners decided their next course of action, after making submissions on the planning application.

"We hope that the planning route will be enough for us to stop this," People Before Profit TD, Richard Boyd Barrett said.

"But in the meantime we are encouraging people to write to Transport Minister Paschal Donohoe about the upcoming harbours bill," he added.

Legislation that is being processed at the moment could see the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company (DLHC) disbanded and the harbour brought under council control.

Mr Boyd Barret said that he will be seeking an amendment that would ensure that the harbour would be under the control of elected representatives.

Musician Christy Moore , who lives in Monkstown, has backed the campaign.

For more about the Appeal and the restoration of a ferry service to Holyhead in 2016, click here.

Published in Cruise Liners

#CruiseSeason2016 – Following the debut visit to Dun Laoghaire this Friday of Mein Schiff 4, marking the end of the cruise season, Afloat.ie can reveal the port's cruise call line-up for 2016, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Before we do, here is a brief introduction to the forthcoming debutant which cost $625m to build. Mein Schiff 4 features a 25m long swimming pool, basketball course and saunas with seas views. She was built at the Meyer Turku yard, Finland in late 2014. The 99,500 tonnes newbuild undertook her first cruise in August visiting destinations to Nordic ports.

She has a capacity for 2,506 passengers and 1,000 crew and Mein Schiff 4 is currently on a 11-day round trip cruise that departed last weekend from Hamburg. She is to anchor offshore off Dun Laoghaire from where her German clientele will be transferred by tender ashore.

This will be the first TUI Cruises call to the harbour in which the DLHC has attracted in recent years some of the world’s leading prestigious cruise operators to include Cunard, P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises.

Notably, Mein Schiff 1, albeit some 25,000 tonnes smaller than newcomer Mein Schiff 4, will be the only large cruiseship in 2016 out of 7 cruise callers in total so far confirmed to Afloat.ie by the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company.

The deep-draft cruiseship will anchor offshore while the other six small sized cruiseships will be able to berth within the harbour at the Carlisle Pier.

The cruise total between this year and 2016, is considerable as a record 22 calls were scheduled for this year's season. Only around half of that figure was achieved as a spate of anchorage calls were cancelled as operators instead favoured to berth at Dublin Port.

Listed below is the schedule of cruise calls so far confirmed to Dun Laoghaire in 2016.

26th May    Mein Schiff 1

10th June   Sea Explorer 1

20th June   Star Legend

4th July      Wind Surf

9th Aug      Star Legend

30th Aug    Sea Explorer 1

31st Aug    Wind Surf

All of above cruiseships with the exception of Mein Schiff 4 are to berth at Carlisle Pier. The former ‘mail-boat’ / car-ferry terminal located at this pier became redundant in 1996 following introduction of Stena HSS operations. The fast-ferry service to Holyhead ceased service just over a year ago (on 9th September 2014) when the HSS Stena Explorer departed from St. Michaels Wharf.

Only small cruiseships currently use the berth at Carlisle Pier for the cruise industry that was revived by the DLHC in 2011, given the steady decline of the Stena HSS service as seen in recent years.

A controversial plan for a €30m cruise-berth to accommodate massive cruiseships inside Dun Laoghaire Harbour is currently in the process of An Bord Pleanala decision on planning permission.

 

Published in Cruise Liners

#NewCruiseShip – A new cruiseship, Mein Schiff 4 with a capacity for 2,506 passengers and more than 1,000 crew is to make her Irish maiden cruise with a debut call offshore of Dun Laoghaire Harbour next week, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Operating the Finnish built 99,500 tonnes vessel launched in late 2014 for TUI Cruises, the Mein Schiff 4 (My Ship 4) is to call to Dun Laoghaire. She will make the inaugural Irish port of call for the German based joint venture tourist group.

Mein Schiff features a 25m swimming pool, basketball court, sauna with sea view and where her guests can expect to pay €5,495 for a suite on the 10-day cruise.

The visit of TUI Cruises has been welcomed by Dun Laoghaire Harbour as German tourists are to celebrate in the searching of a slice of their ‘Irishness’ and where traditional music session will greet the visitors ashore.

Also taking place this month is the annual Oktoberfest held in Dublin, where currently the German Navy tallship Gorch Fock is berthed as previously reported. Tours of the vessel are this Saturday, for further details visit the story.

Secondly, a corvette also from the German Navy is to call later this month to Dun Laoghaire. Afloat will have more on this in a separate report covered on our Naval Visitors page.

Returning to the cruise sector, unlike the previous giant white-hulled cruiseships, Mein Schiff 4 sports a deep blue hull with the company’s distinctive livery. This is conveyed through hand-written like script with words spread across her amidships.

She is the second of almost four identical sisters based on an order from Finnish yard, Meyer Turku.

The next pair, Mein Schiff 5 is due for delivery in 2016 and final sister, Mein Schiff 6 will follow in 2017. The yard was taken over by the German shipbuilder earlier this year, resulting in the end of the Finnish Government stake-holding.

The call of Mein Schiff 4 on 18 September, will represent the end of the 2015 season to Dun Laoghaire.

Earlier this year it had been expected the season would be record-breaking with 22 cruise calls, however the scheduled figure have been considerably reduced by around a half.

The reason for this spate of cancellations throughout the summer by the largest cruiseships, notably the majority from Princess Cruises 3,600 passenger Royal Princess which instead went to Dublin Port to avoid the issue of anchoring off Dun Laoghaire.

Such a process is time-consuming for operators in having to transfer passengers ashore to the south Dublin Bay harbour.

The Royal Princess had only made a once off call off Dun Laoghaire that launched the season in May. All of the subsequent 8 calls were cancelled and transferred to Dublin Port which was given the ‘green’ light to proceed with a €30m double cruise-berth terminal.

While, DLHC await planning permission for a €18m single cruise-berth facility, all was not lost as the harbour welcomed the return for the second time in recent years of the prestigious Cunard 148,500 tonne cruise-liner, Queen Mary 2 which called also in May.

Another positive for DLHC was the repeat calls this season by Windstar Cruises sail-assisted five-masted Wind Surf that docked inside the harbour.

Also making calls within the harbour arms at the Carlisle Pier was Windstar Cruises newly acquired Star Legend. She previously made an appearance last year when under the ownership of Seabourn Cruises.

Published in Cruise Liners
Page 11 of 40

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