#CruiseLiners – A total of 64 cruiseships are scheduled to call to Cork Harbour, making the 2013 season the busiest year to date for the Port of Cork, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The increase in calls (from 57 in 2012), reflects further confidence of the cruise sector in 2013, where there will be 6 maiden calls to Cork and 2 will stay overnight.
A major coup for Cork is that for the first time, Europe's largest based cruise ship "Independence of the Seas" will welcome passengers to embark directly at Cobh on two cruises. Firstly in June and September, with 12-night cruises touring the Norwegian Fjords, organised by Lee Travel.
The giant vessel of 154,000 tonnes which is operated by RCCL, made her inaugural call to Cork in 2007 when she docked at the dedicated Cobh cruise terminal. From April 2013, the 4,375 passenger ship returns to running summer season cruises from her UK homeport of Southampton.
Cobh will look forward to many other callers throughout the season (cruise caller schedule) and where visitors will be given a very special welcome courtesy of CorkCruise. This is an initiative to provide tourist representatives to go on board each vessel. Following visits to Cobh, Cork City and beyond, a traditional Irish dancing and brass band performance are held on the quayside, as a fond farewell.
The efforts of CorkCruise, were recognised once again in 2011 when the Port of Cork was awarded two Cruise Insight Awards for 'Best Shore Side Welcome' and 'Best Tour Guides' which were announced at the global shipping conference, Seatrade Miami in April 2012.