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Displaying items by tag: Marco Polo

#CruiseLiners - Classic former liner Marco Polo made cruiseship calls to Irish ports last weekend and today the veteran vessel is nearing the end of a cruise that began in Hull, the UK North Sea port which is increasingly becoming popular with the cruise sector, writes Jehan Ashmore.

Marco Polo dating to 1965, had embarked passengers from Associated British Ports (ABP) Hull, for operator Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV). The cruise began with a tour of Scottish ports and offshore isles before calling to Dublin and Cork.

Throughout the cruise for the most part, passengers have experienced favourable weather, notable with this current spell of a heatwave across Ireland and the UK. Marco Polo this evening departed Honfleur, France from where the temperature in Normandy reached 29 degrees celsius.

The 22,080 tonnes Marco Polo, one of the world's oldest operating cruiseships arrived to the Irish capital last Saturday to berth at Ocean Pier. This was followed the next day with a call to Cobh, the main cruise location for such ships when visiting Cork Harbour. Yesterday, the itinerary took in an anchorage call off St. Peter Port, Guernsey and on Monday, Isles of Scilly. 

The former liner launched as Aleksandr Pushkin was built in the then East Germany to serve the Soviet Union's Baltic Shipping Company which involved trans-Atlantic 'liner' voyages between Leningrad, Russia and Montreal and Quebec in Canada. In addition to liner en-route calls via Tilbury, London, (coincidently also CMV's main UK homeport) using the 1930 built Art-Deco terminal.

The career of the liner is recorded with varying versions, though it would seem overall that the ship spent a sporadic timeframe in that role with the interim spent as a cruiseship. The start of permanent cruise duties began in the late 1970's.

The cruise career involved charters to German operators and then with Orient Line in the Far East after a major rebuilding in a Greek shipyard took place in 1993. This notably saw increased steelwork to the superstructure between the amidships and the stern. As a consequence this led to a rise in tonnage and a bulkier appearance, though by today's standards, Marco Polo still retains an elegance evoking ocean-liners of the past with stepped superstructure fore and aft and a cruiser stern.

Internally, the shipyard works resulted in the removal of most of the original features and heightening of the centrally placed funnel. There are two restaurents, five lounge areas including the theatre style Marco Polo Lounge, and a wide range of other amenities. Out on decks, there’s a swimming pool, three whirlpools and a traditional walk-around promenade.

In 2015, the year the 176m vessel celebrated its 50th anniverary, Marco Polo made a trans-Atlantic voyage to retrace a 'liner' service between the UK and Canada. The celebratory cruise departed Tilbury in July that year involving a 34-night voyage.

For the past decade, Marco Polo has been chartered to UK based CMV whose six-strong ship fleet includes Magellan. The much larger and more modern cruiseship of 46,000 tonnes resumed this season with duties among them 'home-porting' out of Dublin. In addition to these non-fly cruises, the 1,250 passenger ship is offering for the first time cruises directly embarking from Cobh with destinations such as Iceland.

Also homeporting out of Dublin this season is Celebrity Cruises 'Soltice' class Celebrity Eclipse.

Returning to Hull, where a further five ships is scheduled to call to this season, though the first caller to the port on the Humber estuary was Silver Cloud. See story on seperate cruise call to Galway Bay anchorage.

The luxurious Silveas Cruises operated cruiseship, the fourth expedition ship out of a nine-strong white hulled fleet ('Cloud' with a black hull), enjoyed a day call to the port on the Humber. Hull last year was UK City of Culture and is the gateway to the historic city of York.

Hull is also home to the daily P&O Ferries services to Zeebrugge, Belgium and Rotterdam, the Netherlands. In total these routes saw just under one million passengers travel annually.

Sisters Pride of York, built in Scotland and Japanese counterpart, Pride of Bruges serve the longer route to Belgium. Larger sisters, Pride of Hull and Pride of Rotterdam both Italian built, run the Dutch route which too provide overnight crossings. 

Published in Cruise Liners

#ClassicCaller – Cruise & Maritime Voyages Marco Polo, a classic cruiseship that became the first ship to establish the UK operator almost a decade ago, made a call to Dublin Port today, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The call of the 820-passenger Marco Polo now in its 52 year is in complete contrast to the 2004 built giant Caribbean Princess which called to the capital at the weekend. The  112,894 gross tonnage ship however was in the media spotlight last year (see report) in regards to a 'magic pipe'.

As for Marco Polo the ship departed last week from Avonmouth near Bristol. The seven-nights Scottish Highlights & Emerald Isle cruise last port of call was Tobermory on the Isle of Mull.

Marco Polo became CMV’s first ship in 2009 and using embarkation ports in the UK among them Tilbury, London Cruise Terminal. This season she is mainly based out of Avonmouth, Bristol and Hull. Afloat has identified among its cruises is a one-night taster in September. This is to be from Belfast to Liverpool.

The career of this classic former Soviet era liner dating to 1965 was incorrectly reported by Ships Monthly to be up for sale and be withdrawn in 2018. The publication added that Marco Polo is to remain in service at least to the end of next year as according to the operator’s advertised cruise roster.

Afloat has also examined Marco Polo’s season next year. Among the season is a five night Emerald Isle & Isles of Scilly. This cruise based out of Cardiff is to include calls to Dublin, Cobh and Glengariff, Bantry Bay from where the lady of the sea was observed from the shoreline almost a decade ago. This saw tenders kept busy bringing cruise-goers ashore from the anchored ship.

Asides her rare longetivity, Marco Polo is notably the sole survivor of five sisters built of the so called ‘Authors’ class, having been built in Wismar, East Germany. Launched as Alexandr Pushkin, the liner operated Baltic Shipping Company’s Leningrad—Helsinki—Copenhagen—London (Tilbury)—Quebec City—Montreal, Canada service.

This liner trade however ceased within a decade. The ship was sold but began a new career cruising that included operating in the Far East and Australia.

Published in Cruise Liners
Dublin Port welcomed a brand new cruiseship the 66,000 tonnes Marina which docked adjacent to the veteran cruiseship, Marco Polo today, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Marina is the first of a pair of mid-sized newbuilds for Oceania Cruises, her sister Riviera is to debut next year from the Fincantieri shipyard in Sestre Ponente, Italy. The 'Oceania' -class each accommodate 1,250 passengers and a crew of 800 and they are an evolution of the companies popular sisters Regatta, Insignia and Nautica.
Designer touches on board the Marina include the Lalique Grand Staircase and the Owner's Suites which are furnished from Ralph Lauren Home, showcasing the finest in residential design and furnishings. The 785-foot ship has a Bon Appétit Culinary Centre which according to her owners is the only hands-on cooking school based at sea.

The cruise started from Copenhagen and toured several ports in Norway from where the vessel continued to Lerwick, Torshavn,Iceland, Portree and her last port of call was Belfast. The vessel had berthed in Dublin's Alexandra Basin and departed this evening bound for Dover.

Following the Marina's departure out of Dublin Bay via the North Burford bouy, was the Marco Polo. The 1965 built vessel operates for Cruise and Maritime Voyages and she proceeded past the South Burford bouy bound for St. Mary's, the capital of the Scilly Isles.

There will be many more cruisecalls such as the ultra luxury six-star Silver Cloud which is due on Sunday. The 16,927 tonnes vessel operated by Italian owned SilverSeas Cruises, has only a capacity for 294 passengers. Following that visit P&O Cruises 115,000 tonnes Azura docks in the capital this day next week to disembark up to 3,500 passengers. To view a full list of cruise callers click HERE.

Published in Cruise Liners

Cruising off the east coast of Leinster this evening is the veteran cruiseship Marco Polo which is bound for the Scilly Isles off Land's End, writes Jehan Ashmore.

For those with an appreciation for the more traditional tiered deck profile compared to the bulky new giant cruiseships, the 22,080 tonnes vessel built as the Aleksandr Puskin at the Mathias-Thesen-Werft, East Germany, certainly represents a different era. 

The liner entered service in 1966 with the Baltic Shipping Company on their regular trans-Atlantic Montreal-Leningrad service. In 1975 she was converted for her new role as a full-time cruiseship. For a cut-away deck profile and description of facilities click here.

Presenting a distinctive profile with a pronounced flared bow and cruiser stern, she boasts the classic lines of a vessel nearing 50 years ship. Such ships are increasingly becoming a rare sight on the ocean waves.

She can take 850 passengers accommodated in 450 cabins. Her main dimensions reflect her ocean-going design noting her draft is 8.2m (26.9ft) with a length of 176.3m (578.4ft) and a beam of 23.6m (77.4ft). Crewing is divided between senior officers (international) and cruise staff and entertainers are both British and comprising of other nationalities.

In recent years Marco Polo served the German market but she now is run by Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV) on cruises from the UK.  The company also operate the Ocean Countess which first started out her days as Cunard Countess.

Published in Cruise Liners

According to a report in the Irish Times this morning Dublin Port Company is considering a proposal by docklands entrepreneur Harry Crosbie to relocate the city's cruise ship terminal to a site closer to the heart of the city beside the East Link bridge. 86 Cruise liners arrived in Dublin Port this Summer.

Cruise liner traffic into Dublin is in line with last years figures when almost 80 cruise liners visited the port in 2009, carrying 120,000 passengers and crew to Dublin.
The largest arrival the blue hulled Marco Polo at 176 metre contribute significantly to the Dublin economy. 

Published in Cruise Liners

Dublin Bay

Dublin Bay on the east coast of Ireland stretches over seven kilometres, from Howth Head on its northern tip to Dalkey Island in the south. It's a place most Dubliners simply take for granted, and one of the capital's least visited places. But there's more going on out there than you'd imagine.

The biggest boating centre is at Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the Bay's south shore that is home to over 1,500 pleasure craft, four waterfront yacht clubs and Ireland's largest marina.

The bay is rather shallow with many sandbanks and rocky outcrops, and was notorious in the past for shipwrecks, especially when the wind was from the east. Until modern times, many ships and their passengers were lost along the treacherous coastline from Howth to Dun Laoghaire, less than a kilometre from shore.

The Bay is a C-shaped inlet of the Irish Sea and is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and 7 km in length to its apex at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south. North Bull Island is situated in the northwest part of the bay, where one of two major inshore sandbanks lie, and features a 5 km long sandy beach, Dollymount Strand, fronting an internationally recognised wildfowl reserve. Many of the rivers of Dublin reach the Irish Sea at Dublin Bay: the River Liffey, with the River Dodder flow received less than 1 km inland, River Tolka, and various smaller rivers and streams.

Dublin Bay FAQs

There are approximately ten beaches and bathing spots around Dublin Bay: Dollymount Strand; Forty Foot Bathing Place; Half Moon bathing spot; Merrion Strand; Bull Wall; Sandycove Beach; Sandymount Strand; Seapoint; Shelley Banks; Sutton, Burrow Beach

There are slipways on the north side of Dublin Bay at Clontarf, Sutton and on the southside at Dun Laoghaire Harbour, and in Dalkey at Coliemore and Bulloch Harbours.

Dublin Bay is administered by a number of Government Departments, three local authorities and several statutory agencies. Dublin Port Company is in charge of navigation on the Bay.

Dublin Bay is approximately 70 sq kilometres or 7,000 hectares. The Bay is about 10 kilometres wide along its north-south base, and seven km in length east-west to its peak at the centre of the city of Dublin; stretching from Howth Head in the north to Dalkey Point in the south.

Dun Laoghaire Harbour on the southside of the Bay has an East and West Pier, each one kilometre long; this is one of the largest human-made harbours in the world. There also piers or walls at the entrance to the River Liffey at Dublin city known as the Great North and South Walls. Other harbours on the Bay include Bulloch Harbour and Coliemore Harbours both at Dalkey.

There are two marinas on Dublin Bay. Ireland's largest marina with over 800 berths is on the southern shore at Dun Laoghaire Harbour. The other is at Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club on the River Liffey close to Dublin City.

Car and passenger Ferries operate from Dublin Port to the UK, Isle of Man and France. A passenger ferry operates from Dun Laoghaire Harbour to Howth as well as providing tourist voyages around the bay.

Dublin Bay has two Islands. Bull Island at Clontarf and Dalkey Island on the southern shore of the Bay.

The River Liffey flows through Dublin city and into the Bay. Its tributaries include the River Dodder, the River Poddle and the River Camac.

Dollymount, Burrow and Seapoint beaches

Approximately 1,500 boats from small dinghies to motorboats to ocean-going yachts. The vast majority, over 1,000, are moored at Dun Laoghaire Harbour which is Ireland's boating capital.

In 1981, UNESCO recognised the importance of Dublin Bay by designating North Bull Island as a Biosphere because of its rare and internationally important habitats and species of wildlife. To support sustainable development, UNESCO’s concept of a Biosphere has evolved to include not just areas of ecological value but also the areas around them and the communities that live and work within these areas. There have since been additional international and national designations, covering much of Dublin Bay, to ensure the protection of its water quality and biodiversity. To fulfil these broader management aims for the ecosystem, the Biosphere was expanded in 2015. The Biosphere now covers Dublin Bay, reflecting its significant environmental, economic, cultural and tourism importance, and extends to over 300km² to include the bay, the shore and nearby residential areas.

On the Southside at Dun Laoghaire, there is the National Yacht Club, Royal St. George Yacht Club, Royal Irish Yacht Club and Dun Laoghaire Motor Yacht Club as well as Dublin Bay Sailing Club. In the city centre, there is Poolbeg Yacht and Boat Club. On the Northside of Dublin, there is Clontarf Yacht and Boat Club and Sutton Dinghy Club. While not on Dublin Bay, Howth Yacht Club is the major north Dublin Sailing centre.

© Afloat 2020

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