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#Newcomer - Hurtigruten's newest ship will be named ‘MS Spitsbergen’  after the largest island in the Svalbard Archipelago.

She joins the Norwegian explorer cruise company on the very northernmost part of the Nordic country where, in 1896, Hurtigruten’s founder Richard With first started explorer tourism in the Arctic.

The name was chosen following a competition in which more than 15,000 suggestions were submitted from all over the world. Erlend Baldersheim (33) from the village of Baldersheim, close to Bergen won the competition and will be the captain’s guest on a special sailing of MS Spitsbergen

Explorer tourism is a fast growing industry. MS Spitsbergen will join Hurtigruten’s global operations as the company now operates two ships offering guests unique nature and culture experiences around the poles as well as 11 ships along the Norwegian coast. In the high North, Hurtigruten now offer voyages around Greenland and Iceland, as well as around Spitsbergen. In the extreme South, Hurtigruten sail guests from South America to the waters around Antarctica.

MS Spitsbergen will initially replace MS Midnatsol on Hurtigruten’s traditional coastal route when she sails down to Antarctica in Autumn 2016. In future it is expected that the new addition will alternate between the coastal route and polar expeditions.

The newest addition to the fleet will have a capacity of 320 guests and 180 berths. The ship has modern common areas, making it possible to experience the spectacular polar scenery in comfortable surroundings.

Some statistics on MS Spitsbergen
· Built in 2009 by the Portuguese shipyard Estaleiro Navais de Viana do Castelo (ENVC).
· Number of guests: 320
· Total bunk capacity: 200
· Gross Tonnage: 7025
· Length: 97.53 m
· Width: 18 m
· Machine: Diesel Electric
· Speed: 17.4 knots

Afloat adds that the new Hurtigruten vessel was originally built to serve in the Azores, however this never materialised due to operators not accepting the vessel due to speed issues.

The Spitsbergen will be modified with works to include ice-strengthening of the hull and adaptions to her engines to assist in reducing fuel consumption and emissions.

Published in Cruise Liners

#DredgingConcerns- To attract big cruise ships involving separate proposals, An Taisce say they ‘should be assessed together’

According to The Irish Times, plans by Dublin Port to deepen its navigation channel and dump 10 million tonnes of silt at sea must be considered in conjunction with plans by Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company to dredge a navigation channel that involves dumping in the same area.

An Taisce voiced concern in a submission to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) asking that the cumulative effects of both dredging and dumping schemes be examined.

Both Dublin Port and Dún Laoghaire are deepening their navigations in rival bids to capture cruise business from larger ships. Dublin Port is also seeking to reconfigure its facilities to create easier access for ferry services.

Both schemes are required to apply for a licence from the EPA to dump in the bay which is in a Unesco biosphere reserve and contains a range of designations under the EU habitats and birds directives.

The newspaper reports on more of the issues of offshore protection and planning permission.

Published in Dublin Bay

#CruiseBerth - Richard Boyd Barrett TD and local author Alison Hackett are among the speakers lined up for a public meeting on Dun Laoghaire Harbour's controversial cruise liner berth plans tomorrow evening (Monday 7 September).

Activist group Save Our Seafront is hosting 'An Alternative Vision for Dun Laoghaire Harbour' at 8pm in The Kingston Hotel to discuss the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company's proposals for a next-generation cruise liner terminal that Boyd Barrett and Hackett agree would "destroy" the unique aspect of the harbour.

Other speakers on the night will include An Taisce's Fergal McLoughlin and Liam Shanahan of the National Yacht Club, whose joint submission to An Bord Pleanála over the cruise berth plans (as a part of the Dun Laoghaire Combined Clubs) was recently published online.

Published in Cruise Liners

#CancelledCruiseCall -The biggest ever cruiseship built exclusively for the UK market is no longer listed as scheduled to visit Dun Laoghaire Harbour according to the port company website, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Once again another massive cruiseship is not calling offshore of Dun Laoghaire Harbour. As previously reported on Afloat.ie the 147,000 tonnes P&O Cruises 2015 built Britannia was due to call next Tuesday on her maiden call to Dun Laoghaire Harbour. Instead of anchoring she is to favour docking in Dublin Port that same day according to the port's vessel arrival list.

As also reported, Britannia is as scheduled to make a first call to Cobh next week on the following Wednesday.

Afloat await a response from DLHC to make a comment on the cancellation by the prestigious cruise operator. The port company today launched online all documents of the planning application lodged to An Bord Planeala and where a public consultation period over a seven-weeks began today for submissions /observations on the proposed €18m cruise-berth. 

When the 3,600 passenger capacity Britannia is due to call to Dublin Port she will arrive to berth 33 within Alexandra Basin.

It is at this same berth is where a near-sister of Britannia, the Princess Cruises operated Royal Princess also favoured the capital instead of calling offshore of Dun Laoghaire on 28 June. This was the third successive cancellation by the 2013 built Italian cruiseship and this has reduced a record-breaking season that was expected to total 23 cruise calls.

On the same day the Royal Princess called to Dublin Port on 28 June, Afloat reported the sail-assisted five mast cruiseship Wind Surf that made an earlier than scheduled arrival to Dun Laoghaire. She was due the next day. The reason for the early diversion were high-winds that prevented the Windstar Cruises flagship from launching tenders to bring guests ashore to Dunmore East.

It is for similar and operational reasons that massive cruiseships do not make anchorage calls. On the occasion of the inaugural cruise call for the DLHC cruise season on 11 May, MSC Cruises decided to swap the port of call to Dublin Port with the 137,000 tonnes MSC Splendida visiting on the same day to the capital. For a report of her second call to the port click here.

The cruise operator citing that passengers had the convenience of proximity to the capital with more time spent rather than having to be tendered ashore via Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

A further three cruise calls by separate ships are due to Dun Laoghaire this season.

The MSC Splendida, as previously reported on Afloat was confirmed by DLHC to make her long awaited first visit with a call offshore next month.

Published in Cruise Liners

#CruiseBerthConsultation – Details on all the documents in relation to the proposed Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company cruise berth planning application to An Bord Pleanala are now available from the dedicated website: www.dlcruiseplan.ie

As previously reported on Afloat.ie plans for the €18m cruise-berth are on public display. Observations / submissions can be made to An Bord Pleanála during the seven-week public consultation period which began today (9 July 2015).

A full copy of the planning application is available on the above referred website. Information contained on that website will only be available for the period of the planning application process. Full copies are also available to view or purchase with An Bord Pleanala and the Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council only.

The public should raise any questions or concerns directly with the planning authorities, An Bord Pleanála. Please do not contact the DLHC directly with regard to this planning application.

To consult the DLHC proposed cruise-berth (a downloadable file) can be visited through the link here.

As reported on Inshore-Ireland, submissions or observations may be made ONLY to ABP during the seven-week consultation period, relating to:

1) implications of the proposed development for proper planning and sustainable development of the area concerned

2) likely effects on the environment of the proposed development if carried out

3) likely significant effects of the proposed development on a European site if carried out.

Submissions/observations must be accompanied by a fee of €50 and must be received by ABP not later than 5.30pm on August 27, 2015.

Among the documents that can be inspected during the public opening hours for the seven week consultation period are the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and Natura Impact Statement.

Alternatively, all the documents may be inspected free of charge or purchased on payment of a specified fee (which fee shall not exceed the reasonable cost of making such copy) during public opening hours for a period of 7 weeks commencing on 9 July 2015 at the following locations:

The Offices of An Bord Pleanála, 64 Marlborough Street, Dublin 1

The Offices of Dún Laoghaire Rathdown County Council, Civic Offices, County Hall, Marine Road, Dún Laoghaire, Co Dublin

Published in Cruise Liners

#CruiseBerthPlansThe Herald writes that from today plans for a controversial jumbo cruise ship facility in Dun Laoghaire harbour will go on public view.

The Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company (DLHC) lodged (last Friday as previously reported on Afloat) a planning application for the upgrade of the harbour with An Bord Pleanala at a cost of €100,000.

Prior to lodging the application, the company held a three-week public consultation period earlier this year. It said that 139 people made submissions - the vast majority of which (104) were opposed to the plans.

However in its application to the planning authority, the DLHC has said that most of the concerns expressed by people were based on misunderstandings about the plans.

The company prepared a response to these concerns addressing the most common issues, including the perception the plans would bring no economic benefit or would negatively impact on harbour users.

In a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement, the company proposed that there would be no major, lasting negative impact to the users or the environment of the harbour.

However it did acknowledge that the jumbo cruise ships would "have a significant impact on all existing views towards the harbour".

"A proportion of existing harbour users may consider the sheer scale of the docked ship to be negative given that the vast majority of other vessels using the harbour are small by comparison," it said.

For more on this story, click Here.

Published in Cruise Liners

#CruiseConsultation - Gillian Mills of Inshore Ireland writes that Dún Laoghaire/Rathdown Independent Councillor, Victor Boyhan has called for an oral hearing of a planning application for a major cruise berth terminal that was lodged today (last Friday) by Dún Laoghaire Harbour Company.

The eight-year, €18m strategic infrastructure development, comprising a 435m pier with an underpass, ancillary site and landscape works, will accommodate 'next generation cruise ships', according to the Dún Laoghaire Stakeholder Group.

To qualify as an SID, a proposed development must first come within the scope of one or more of the classes outlined in the 7th Schedule to the 2000 Act, and comply with the thresholds contained therein.

In addition, the Board must come to the opinion that the proposed development, if carried out, would fall within one or more of the following:

• is of strategic economic or social importance to the State or the region in which it would be situate

• would contribute substantially to the fulfilment of any of the objectives of the National Spatial Strategy or any regional planning guidelines in respect of the area or areas in which the development would be situate

• would have a significant effect on the area of more than one planning authority

The opinion is formed by the Board at the conclusion of the pre-application stage.

Inshore Ireland has much more on the proposed cruise-berth facility and details of observations / submissions to be made to An Bord Planeala during the seven-week consultation period, click here.

Published in Cruise Liners

#ProposedCruiseDock- Calls on the Welsh Government to help develop a purpose built cruise ship dock at Holyhead on Anglesey amid concerns that the region could be missing out on valuable tourism cash.

The Daily Post which has more on the storey reports that the proposed development comes weeks after a vessel carrying 2,500 passengers failed to dock at the former Anglesey Aluminium jetty because it isn't suitable for use in high winds.

The Celebrity Silhouette (which called first to Dun Laoghaire on 14 June) was the largest vessel due at the Anglesey port this summer - one of more than 20 cruise ships coming to the island.

Anglesey AM Rhun ap Iorwerth expressed his disappointment that the island, and North Wales as a whole, missed out on thousands of pounds which would have been pumped into the local economy and has now called on the Welsh Government to intervene.

As reported today on Afloat.ie, the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company on behalf of Dun Laoghaire Cruise Stakeholder Group will tomorrow (Friday 3rd July) submit its planning application for a new cruise berth facility at the Irish harbour to An Bord Pleanála

Published in Cruise Liners

#CruiseTurnAround- Dun Laoghaire Harbour acted as a turnaround port of call for Windstar Cruises as the sail-assisted five-mast flagship Wind Surf ended and began fly-cruises yesterday, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Wind Surf berthed at the Carlisle Pier where passengers arrived and departed on the turnaround cruises. As she lay moored the French built ship which has 50 metre high masts stood higher than the height of the new landmark building of the DLR LexIcon Library. 

Today, the 187m long vessel is on an anchorage call in Douglas Bay, Isle of Man marking the first leg of her cruise. 

Cruise-goers mostly from the US and Canada had disembarked the 14,475 tons Wind Surf during her Dun Laoghaire call (albeit having arrived on Sunday, a day early than scheduled). She had begun a cruise in Lisbon, Portugal. Likewise on this current cruise passengers are in the majority from the North American market. 

The Carlisle Pier is where the former conventional ferry served until 1996. In that same year the carferry was replaced by the Stena HSS fast-ferry that too came to an end with operations closing last year.

Dun Laoghaire may no longer have a ferry service with Holyhead in north Wales, though it was interesting to observe that the 'check-in' facilities for the cruise took place in the former Stena Line terminal reception hall. The terminal located on St. Michaels Wharf is adjacent to the Carlisle Pier. 

A cruise representative informed me that expectant cruise-goers had flown in to Dublin Airport. Some of the visitors had spent several days in the capital in advance to embarking on the cruise.

The use of the redundant ferry terminal for the turnaround cruises has taken place in previous seasons by Windstar Cruises. The US cruise firm with corporate office based in Seattle have been the most frequent operator that is to dock inside the harbour since 2012.

Published in Cruise Liners

#DivertedCruiseShip – A sail-assisted five mast cruiseship with up to 310 passengers was forced to cancel an anchorage call off Dunmore East today due to strong winds and divert to Dun Laoghaire Harbour, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Unfavourable winds early this morning off Dunmore East prevented the transfer of passengers ashore by tenders from the 14,745 gross tons Wind Surf. Instead the flagship of Windstar Cruises which boasts five towering masts (each 50m high) made the passage to Dublin Bay later today with a mid-afternoon arrival.

It would be further two hours before she finally docked within Dun Laoghaire Harbour at 5pm following berthing safety procedures that required having to call out a tug from Dublin Port.

Once inside Dun Laoghaire Harbour the Wind Surf (if to include the bowsprit is 187m long) was understood given asistance by the tug, Beaufort. This enabled Wind Surf to approach astern alongside Carlisle Pier that is adjcent to the East Pier and jetty structure. 

It was a case of déjà vu as only last week the 116 passenger Island Sky as previously reported on Afloat.ie had required the same tug service. On that occasion, it transpired once inside the harbour, weather conditions did not require tug assistance as Island Sky managed under own her power to berth at Carlisle Pier.

The delays to Wind Surf passengers from making a port of call to the south-east is somewhat offset as the French built vessel is to spend an overnight call tonight in Dun Laoghaire. Wind Surf as it happens was already scheduled to call to the harbour tomorrow morning. 

On previous calls to Dun Laoghaire Wind Surf has self-unfurled her triangular sails by computer operated winches when departing the harbour. So hopefully this will be repeated as strollers stride the pier tomorrow (Monday) when she is due to depart at 6 o'clock. 

Last week, a fleetmate Star Legend albeit a conventional cruiseship paid a visit to Dun Laoghaire Harbour and likewise at Carlisle Pier.

Only the smaller shallow draft cruiseships can be accommodated inside the harbour. Of the 18 cruise calls expected this record breaking season, only four will make an in port of call as much larger deep draft cruiseships have to anchor offshore.

If Star Legend seems familiar the almost 10,000 tonnes cruiseship visited the harbour last season. The 212 guest vessel had been under the banner of Seabourn Cruises which sold the Seabourn Legend to Windstar.

She belongs to a trio of sisters that were all sold and renamed as part of Windstar Cruises mixed fleet of vessels.

Published in Cruise Liners
Page 12 of 40

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