The first of 102 cruise liners MV Astoria will arrive into Cobh on Monday 1st April and officially commence the Port of Cork’s 2019 cruise season. Without doubt, 2019 will be a record year for the Port of Cork with the numbers of scheduled calls the highest the port has ever seen. Capable of handling some of the largest liners, carrying high volumes of passengers at their dedicated cruise berth in Cobh, the Port of Cork anticipates total passenger numbers to be 200,000 and 80,000 crew.
Fourteen cruise liners will make their maiden calls to the Port this season which is always encouraging, however, the number of repeat visits from cruise lines shows their dedication to Cobh.
The increased cruise calls to Cork are indicative of the wider global cruise business which has seen huge growth. In 2018 an estimated 27.2 million people took a cruise on over 450 cruise ships worldwide. With the global cruise ship order book for new build contracts reaching 113 ships between now and 2027, Cork cruise business is set to grow further in the coming years and the Port of Cork is eager to attract these new ships.
According to Conor Mowlds, Port of Cork Chief Commercial Officer, and recently appointed Chairman of Cruise Ireland, Cork’s profile has been raised significantly in recent years, due to a series of glowing reports in some of the world’s leading cruise travel journals. Surveys report a high degree of satisfaction among visitors with the regions natural amenities proving especially popular. Joined up thinking and collaboration of local authorities and tourism representatives working to promote the area has also greatly benefited the region.
Mr Mowlds said: “It is not as difficult to sell Cork as it was ten years ago and there is a much wider recognition of the Cork brand globally especially since the launch of the We Are Cork and Pure Cork brands. As we know, in order to successfully promote a city, it requires hard work from all parties involved and we will continue to work with Cork City and Cork County Council to promote and enhance the reputation of Cork globally.’
On average, cruise ship passengers spend €81 during their time in Cork; with 42% of this money being spent on shopping, 32% on excursion travel and 17% on food and drink. Typically crew spend approximately €29, with most of the money being spent on food and drink and/or shopping.
As well as Cobh the Port of Cork also operates Bantry Bay Port Company which will see ten cruise liners calling to the West Cork area this summer. Bantry Harbour and Glengarriff can accommodate the smaller boutique cruise liners whose passengers tend to look for active expedition cruises. Bantry Bay Port Company and the Port of Cork are currently developing a cruise strategy for Bantry in order to grow the business in West Cork.