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It will be a bumper season in Killybegs Harbour as an unprecedented 28 cruise ships are scheduled to visit Co. Donegal, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The record total of cruise ships including 11 maiden calls will bring 50,000 visitors to the town and surrounding attractions in the north-west. With this level of visitors, the cruise season easily surpasses that of last year when 23 cruise ships arrived with 20,000 passengers.

In total the combined length of this year's cruise ships will be more than 6000m and 19 of them will each be more than 200m long. Handling these callers will be Killybegs based Sinbad Marine which will be acting as agents for the cruiseships. 

At 326m, the longest cruise ship will be Norwegian Getaway which has a gross tonnage of 145,655 and a capacity for 3,963 passengers 1,646 crew. The giant cruise ship operated by Norwegian Cruise Line is due to call much later in the season in September.

A fleetmate the 294m Norwegian Star is however to open this year's season on 16th May. The same ship as Afloat reported is to close out the season off Dun Laoghaire Harbour in October.

Norwegian Star will be the most frequent caller to Killybegs with four visits stretching beyond that of Norwegian Getaway's once off aforementioned call in the Autumn.

Amongst the other cruise callers to Killybegs will be Ambience of UK based operator Ambassador Cruise Line which as Afloat reported was launched last year. The 70,235 gross tonnage ship then had made debut calls to Belfast and Cobh in Cork Harbour.

The 1,400 passenger capacity cruise ship recently returned to the southern port, marking the first caller of the season.

Published in Cruise Liners