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This Weekend Sees 'Largest Ever Cruise Ship' to Galway with Thousands on Board €350 Million Ship

10th May 2024
Crowd-puller: The arrival of the Norwegian Star, the largest ever cruise ship to visit Galway Bay this weekend, is expected to draw huge crowds to flock and see the ‘star’ ship. The occasion is also to mark the first call to the mid-west port by Norwegian Cruise Line.
Crowd-puller: The arrival of the Norwegian Star, the largest ever cruise ship to visit Galway Bay this weekend, is expected to draw huge crowds to flock and see the ‘star’ ship. The occasion is also to mark the first call to the mid-west port by Norwegian Cruise Line. Credit: GalwayBeoOnline/facebook

Galway Bay is to see one of the largest cruise ships ever to anchor offshore of the city over the weekend, as the 91,000 gross tonnage vessel arrives with passengers to explore the west of Ireland.

The 2,400 passenger Norwegian Star with its luxurious facilities is one of the Dawn-class cruise ships which is to arrive in Galway on 12 May. The vessel with a draft of 8.2m is to anchor off the port from where passengers will use tenders back and forth to Dun Aengus Dock.

At 294 metres in length, the hulking vessel is more than twice as long as the pitch at Pearse Stadium and has a beam of just over 32m. The 23-year-old ship operated by Norwegian Cruise Line will also visit the east coast at Dun Laoghaire Harbour, where it will make an overnight anchorage just three days after departing the 'City of the Tribes'.

The ports so far visited by the Norwegian Star have included Lisbon in Portugal, Bilbao in Spain, Bordeaux, the French Atlantic coast ports of Bordeaux and La Rochelle and Le Havre on the English Channel, and two North Sea ports of Amsterdam in the Netherlands and Hamburg in Germany.

Cruise-goers on the Irish legs of the itinerary will get to visit Waterford, Belfast, Killybegs, Galway, Dingle, Dublin (Dun Laoghaire, as referred to), and Cork shortly afterwards.

The arrival of the €350 million ship to Galway Bay will be served by a 1,000 strong crew.

More Galway Beo has on this notable cruise ship caller.

Jehan Ashmore

About The Author

Jehan Ashmore

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Jehan Ashmore is a marine correspondent, researcher and photographer, specialising in Irish ports, shipping and the ferry sector serving the UK and directly to mainland Europe. Jehan also occasionally writes a column, 'Maritime' Dalkey for the (Dalkey Community Council Newsletter) in addition to contributing to UK marine periodicals. 

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Galway Port & Harbour

Galway Bay is a large bay on the west coast of Ireland, between County Galway in the province of Connacht to the north and the Burren in County Clare in the province of Munster to the south. Galway city and port is located on the northeast side of the bay. The bay is about 50 kilometres (31 miles) long and from 10 kilometres (6.2 miles) to 30 kilometres (19 miles) in breadth.

The Aran Islands are to the west across the entrance and there are numerous small islands within the bay.

Galway Port FAQs

Galway was founded in the 13th century by the de Burgo family, and became an important seaport with sailing ships bearing wine imports and exports of fish, hides and wool.

Not as old as previously thought. Galway bay was once a series of lagoons, known as Loch Lurgan, plied by people in log canoes. Ancient tree stumps exposed by storms in 2010 have been dated back about 7,500 years.

It is about 660,000 tonnes as it is a tidal port.

Capt Brian Sheridan, who succeeded his late father, Capt Frank Sheridan

The dock gates open approximately two hours before high water and close at high water subject to ship movements on each tide.

The typical ship sizes are in the region of 4,000 to 6,000 tonnes

Turbines for about 14 wind projects have been imported in recent years, but the tonnage of these cargoes is light. A European industry report calculates that each turbine generates €10 million in locally generated revenue during construction and logistics/transport.

Yes, Iceland has selected Galway as European landing location for international telecommunications cables. Farice, a company wholly owned by the Icelandic Government, currently owns and operates two submarine cables linking Iceland to Northern Europe.

It is "very much a live project", Harbourmaster Capt Sheridan says, and the Port of Galway board is "awaiting the outcome of a Bord Pleanála determination", he says.

90% of the scrap steel is exported to Spain with the balance being shipped to Portugal. Since the pandemic, scrap steel is shipped to the Liverpool where it is either transhipped to larger ships bound for China.

It might look like silage, but in fact, its bales domestic and municipal waste, exported to Denmark where the waste is incinerated, and the heat is used in district heating of homes and schools. It is called RDF or Refuse Derived Fuel and has been exported out of Galway since 2013.

The new ferry is arriving at Galway Bay onboard the cargo ship SVENJA. The vessel is currently on passage to Belem, Brazil before making her way across the Atlantic to Galway.

Two Volvo round world races have selected Galway for the prestigious yacht race route. Some 10,000 people welcomed the boats in during its first stopover in 2009, when a festival was marked by stunning weather. It was also selected for the race finish in 2012. The Volvo has changed its name and is now known as the "Ocean Race". Capt Sheridan says that once port expansion and the re-urbanisation of the docklands is complete, the port will welcome the "ocean race, Clipper race, Tall Ships race, Small Ships Regatta and maybe the America's Cup right into the city centre...".

The pandemic was the reason why Seafest did not go ahead in Cork in 2020. Galway will welcome Seafest back after it calls to Waterford and Limerick, thus having been to all the Port cities.

© Afloat 2020