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Displaying items by tag: Cruise Liners

#FerryToCruiseship- Of the quartet of cruiseships in Dublin Port today, Ocean Majesty (as pictured) has the most unconventional background, having been launched in 1966 as a side-loading car ferry for Mediterranean service, writes Jehan Ashmore.

In her current role, Ocean Majesty with a 672 capacity has German passengers on board who embarked on 17 August from Hamburg on a charter cruise (Hansa Touristik) of the UK and Ireland.

The 10,417 tonnes cruiseship had sailed northbound through the Irish Sea and berthed in Dublin around noon. According to her itinerary, the ports of call so far visited were Plymouth, the Pool of London involving a transit through Tower Bridge as part of a two-day stopover in the capital.

She is operated by Athens based Majesty International Cruises who in 1994 rebuilt the former Trasmediterránea ferry, Juan Marsh, which served a career mostly between Spain and the Balearics and also to the Canary Islands.

Likewise of the quartet of cruise callers, Juan March was also a member of a quartet of almost identical Albatros-class sisters (two pairs of half-sisters).

The Portuguese flagged Ocean Majesty is completely unrecognisable as the former ferry (See Photo) which saw radical rebuilding of superstructure. Note the gentle sweeping curvature of her decks. Her hull form has an attractive flared bow and retained cruiser stern that these days displays Madeira as her port of registry.

Tonight she heads for Belfast and then several Scottish ports of call. They are Fairlie, Ullapool, Kirkwall and Rosyth and followed by a day at sea before her return to the German North Sea port on 29 August.

This season sees Ocean Majesty operating more than 12 cruises, the first cruise started in Nice and other embarkation ports are Warnemunde and later this year from Venice.


Published in Cruise Liners

#CruiseQuartet- Following yesterday's busy cruise trio line-up to Dublin Port, among them the 5-star luxury sail-assisted Sea Cloud II, even more callers are due when a quartet are to dock tomorrow morning, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Leading the quartet will be Ocean Princess, one of a pair of the smallest units of the Princess Cruise fleet, having only 672 guests. Built in 1999 for former owners Renaissance Cruises, the 30,000 tonnes ship is to enter Dublin Bay at 06.00hrs. She is to dock next to the East-Link Bridge, where Sea Cloud II had occupied berth 18 along North Wall Quay extension. 

A quarter of an hour later, the bay is to receive the 6-star rated Seven Seas Voyager, which has a similar capacity of 700-guests who all enjoy 'balcony'  suites. Operated by Regent Seven Sea Cruises, she was refitted in late 2012 and is to call to Alexandra Basin's berth 30.

After another 15 minute interval, the next caller is AidaCara, the 11 deck vessel which serves the German market is operated by Aida Cruises. Notably is her distinctive bold livery of facial features displayed on the bow. She is to call alongside berth 35 at the river-side of Ocean Pier.

Following all this activity, the three Dublin-berthed cruiseships will have to wait to 11.30 before the fourth and final caller joins them in port in the form of the veteran Ocean Majesty.  The 1966 built former Mediterannean ferry is to arrive at Ocean Pier's berth 35 within Alexandra Basin east.

Launched as Juan March for operators Trasmediterránea, she mostly served the Balearic Islands. Work on reconstructing the side-loading car ferry took three years to complete in 1994 for her Athens based owners Majestic International Cruises.

Published in Cruise Liners

#SailingCruiseship- As previously reported on, a trio of cruise callers due to Dublin Port arrived this morning, among them the exclusive Sea Cloud II (2001/3,849grt), a 5 star luxury sail-assisted vessel, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 117m/ 384ft Spanish built windjammer cruiseship operated by Sea Cloud Cruises, yesterday called to Belfast Harbour. On her arrival today she berthed next to the East-Link Bridge, bringing her mere 94 guest higher spending power clientele closer to the capital's centre.

Of her three masts, the mainmast towers 57m or 187 ft above deck and in total she sets 23 sails totalling 3,000 m² / 32,000 sq ft. Alternatively she has use of engine power (2 X 1,240 kW) producing around 14 knots.

So what passenger facilities are available, there is a lido deck with bar, restaurant, lounge, boutique, library with laptop, sauna, fitness area, a swim platform and a hospital.

Of her 47 outside cabins, 29 of them have a shower/WC, 16 junior suites with bathtub/WC and 2 luxury owner suites. Take a peek HERE, at one of these luxury suites (No. 402) which is 27 m² / 290 sq ft and features a King-sized bed. The bathroom with marble sink and golden fixtures, exude an ambiance of sheer luxury. Click the photo of the suite to enlarge for a better view.

All cabin categories of the top end luxury cruiseship are furnished with bathrobes, hair dryer, telephone, adjustable A/C, private safe, TV/DVD and a mini-bar.

This evening she bids the capital farewell with a departure time of 18.30. Having entered Dublin Bay she is to set a course for Cork Harbour.

Unlike the majority of cruiseships that head for Cobh or smaller sized callers which could head upriver to Cork city-quays, the exclusive Sea Cloud II is an exception.

Instead her guests will have ultimate privacy by anchoring in the lower harbour when she is due to arrive around lunchtime tomorrow.


Published in Cruise Liners

#cruiseliners – Tomorrow the Port of Cork will welcome three cruise liners to Cork Harbour, bringing a combined total of 6,500 passengers and crew to the region.

The largest liner, "MSC Magnifica" will be first to arrive, berthing at Cobh Cruise Terminal at 7.30am with over 3,500 passengers on board. She will be followed by the arrival of "AIDACara" at Ringaskiddy Deepwater Berth at 8.30am. Finally, the sails of the unique "Sea Cloud 11" cruise liner will be seen in the lower harbour at 1.30pm when she drops anchor for the afternoon.

"The ability to accommodate multiple cruise calls in one day is testament to the excellent cruise facilities that Cork has to offer cruise line companies. Along with our world class tourism offerings throughout the region, we really have a unique selling point for cruise lines. The Port is committed to investing in the upgrade of our current facilities in Cobh and assessing the requirement of additional facilities as the cruise sector expands."

By the close of the 2014 in early October, the Port of Cork will have welcomed a total of 52 cruise ships to the port. Despite the number of calls being slightly lower than 2013, the cruise vessels calling in 2014 are larger and have higher passenger volumes such as Princess Cruises newest ship "Royal Princess" which will make her maiden call to Cork on 19th September. At 330 metres in length (over 3 times the length of Thomond Park), this is the size and style of ship that the Port of Cork are endeavouring to attract in the future.

The Port of Cork is currently home to Ireland's only dedicated cruise berth in Cobh and all vessels calling to the port are listed at

Published in Cruise Liners

#LargerCruiseships - Planning permission is been sought by the Port of Cork for a €1.5m deep-water pontoon and access bridge to cater for bigger cruise liners arriving in Cobh, writes the Irish Examiner.

The port authority has applied to Cork County Council for the facility, which it hopes to have completed by next April — the start of the annual cruiseseason.

Port of Cork commercial manager captain Michael McCarthy said it was imperative that it built facilities to handle the new generation of cruise liners.

"The current berth can handle ships like Celebrity Eclipse and Independence of the Seas, which are up to 330-340 metres in length. The next generation, such as the Quantum of the Seas (167,000 tonnes), will be longer and will carry nearly 4,000 passengers," he said.

This year the biggest vessel visiting the port will be the Royal Princess (141,000 tonnes) as previously reported on, which arrives in Cobh next month. The Irish Examiner has more on the planning permission story, click HERE. adds three cruiseships are to call this Thursday, the trio are Sea Cloud II (2001/3,849grt) MSC Magnifica (2010/92,128grt) and Aidacara (1996/38,557grt). To find out further details of each visiting vessel, click to our coverage link above.


Published in Cruise Liners

#CorkCruiseTrio – This season the Port of Cork will welcome 54 cruise ships throughout Cork Harbour, among them three cruiseships calling simultaneously next Thursday, writes Jehan Ashmore.

So what callers are we to expect in this trio line-up, they are listed below as follows. For further details click the highlighted name of each cruiseship.

Sea Cloud II (2001/3,849grt) Flag: Malta Operator: Sea Cloud Cruises Passengers: 94 Crew: 65 

MSC Magnifica (2010/92,128grt) Flag: Panama Operator: MSC Cruises Passengers: 2,500 Crew: 1,000                                                                     

Aidacara (1996/38,557grt) Flag: German Operator: Aida Cruises

The total number of callers this year has slightly dipped than those visiting in 2013,  though cruise vessels calling this summer are larger including newbuild Royal Princess of 141,000 tonnes.  Overall this trend has resulted in an increase in passenger capacity of between 3,000-4,000.

It is estimated that 108,000 passengers and some 30,000 crew will be calling to the various cruise berths in Cork Harobur and bring an economic windfall of around €15m.

In recent years Cobh has been visited by increasingly larger and efficient vessels. Another trend is the developing demand for turn-around calls and overnight stays.

Due to the above combination of larger cruiseships and capacity demands, the Port of Cork are planning to handle even bigger vessels than the current Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines ships with the arrival of the giant new 'Quantum' class newbuilds of approximately 167,000 tonnes.

These ultra-large ships carry almost 5,000 passengers each and the Port of Cork will be the only port of call on the island of Ireland capable of handling such ships when they enter service.

In order to facilitate larger cruiseships docking in Cobh, it is understood that two ships will be able to berth together.

To meet this goal, the costs involved to upgrade Cobh are significant, though the Port of Cork Company remain committed.

Such an investment to the development of the Irish cruise sector is claimed to be of considerable financial return to the local economy and that of the Munster region.

Published in Cruise Liners

#CruiseDublinTrio- As previously reported on, a partner has been sought by Dublin Port Company for the promotion and expansion of the cruise ship business, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Currently the port handles 110,000 annually which generate €50 million into the local economy and the popularity of the capital as a cruiseship destination continues by major cruise brand operators.

Among them will be the visit of three cruise ships next Wednesday and together they contribute to around 100 cruise calls this season, likewise to last year and an increase from 2012 when 89 ships visited.

So what cruiseships make up this forthcoming trio of callers, they are listed below. Notably the 5-star luxury sail-assisted Sea Cloud II is to set sail into the port as the first of these callers.

Sea Cloud II (2001/3,849grt) Flag: Malta Operator: Sea Cloud Cruises Passengers: 94 Crew: 65
For more details click HERE

MSC Magnifica (2010/92,128grt) Flag: Panama Operator: MSC Cruises Passengers: 2,500 Crew: 1,000                                                                           For more details click HERE

Thompson Spirit (1983/33,390grt) Flag: Malta Operator: Thompson Cruises Passengers: 1,254  Crew: 520                                                                     For more details click HERE

Despite the above cruiseships which are to berth in Alexandra Basin where the vast majority berth, the size of such vessels continues by considerably larger newbuilds. This has led to the port proposing to develop the sector by building a dedicated €200m cruiseship terminal.

Plans for the new terminal were submitted to An Bord Pleanála in March, which is to examine the largest infrastructural project planned in the port's history. The facility would accommodate the world's biggest ships and bring increased passenger numbers to 320,000 annually.

Dublin Port Company also aims to development the cruise industry by making the new terminal (closer to the city centre beside the East-Link bridge) into a hub-port or 'turnaround' destination where cruises start and finish.

This would create a whole new option for the cruise industry through fly-cruises marketed at lucrative international markets. In addition to attracting the domestic market where direct cruises to date have at best been sporadic.


Published in Cruise Liners

#AnchorageCallers – A pair of cruiseships are to anchor off Dunmore East next week bringing a potential capacity of 1,940 passengers in total to the south-east region along with more than 1,500 crew, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The arrival of two cruiseships to Dunmore East at the mouth of Waterford Estuary has happened before in recent years. On this occasion the ships due next Tuesday are Thompson Spirit (1983/33,390grt) from Falmouth and Crystal Symphony (1991/51,044grt) whose last port of call is scheduled to be from St. Peter Port, Guernsey.

Thompson Spirit is due to arrive first and anchor around 08.00hrs and followed by Crystal Symphony at 09.30hrs. The former ship is a relatively new caller to Irish waters operating for Thompson Cruises since 2012 and serving the UK market based out of English east coast ports while Crystal Cruises have been a regular customer to the Port of Waterford.

Passengers will be transferred ashore by tenders to the pontoon facility within Dunmore East's joint fishing and leisure harbour which is sited along a scenic stretch of the Waterford coastline.Time spent ashore will be approximately 7-8 hours to explore visitor attractions providing an economic boost to the region where a total of 10 cruise callers (using Dunmore East) are scheduled in this year's season.

As previously reported on, the Port of Waterford handles cruiseships throughout the estuary, asides Dunmore East, callers can berth at Belview, the main port or along the city quays.


Published in Cruise Liners

#CruiseCarlingford- Furthermore to our previous report on Warrenpoint Port, the harbour welcomed the first visit of a cruise ship, the Saga Pearl 2 last month to the harbour on the shores of Carlingford Lough.

According to the Belfast Telegraph, the (Saga Cruises) ship was making a Britain and Ireland Explorer cruise with 800 people on board, who disembarked in the local town and visited the region.

CEO of Warrenpoint Harbour Commissioners Peter Conway said, "We are hoping that this is the start of new business for us and that we can help welcome more tourists to this beautiful part of Co Down. There are also plans for a 200-berth yachting marina and we are trying to secure funding."

Mr Conway added: "We would be prepared to invest £2m in this £5m project; there is an inherent demand for leisure activity on Carlingford Lough."

It's understood the port has also been in negotiations with a view to a possible purchase of the port at Greenore in the Republic, the only privately-owned port in Ireland.

The port is most famous for being used to fit out the ships used for the pirate radio station Radio Caroline which reported about the 50th anniversary since first broadcasting across the Irish Sea off Ramsey, Isle of Man in 1964.

Mr Conway said he had ambitions to broaden the port's appeal. "Warrenpoint is primarily a commercial port, but we have other stakeholders and we think that it is important that we put something back into the local community which is why we want to develop the cruise business and marina, and open up this part of Northern Ireland to a wider audience".

Warrenpoint also accommodates a small but successful mussel-dredging fleet, selling to customers in the Netherlands and Belgium. Local fishermen also sell scallop and crab to some of the top Northern Ireland restaurants.

The board in December 2013 also agreed to the construction of a new £3m grain storage facility and conveyor system.

In October this year the Warrenpoint Harbour Authority will host the 2014 British Ports Association (BPA) 2014 annual conference.

The event, to be based at the Slieve Donard Resort in Newcastle, is expected to attract around 200 delegates.

Published in Cruise Liners

#CruiseDonegal – Donegal Now.Com reports that the Inishowen Peninsula in the north of the county is set to cash in on the lucrative cruise ship business in years to come.

Malin Head is likely to be one of the main visitor attractions. Donegal Co. Council is backing a Loughs Agency initiative that will see around €170,000 invested in upgrading facilities at Greencastle Harbour.

This will allow tenders boats to ferry in passengers from cruises to Donegal. To read more click HERE.


Published in Cruise Liners
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