There is only one more cruise ship is left to visit in December, for what has been a record cruise season for the Port of Cork with 100 cruise liners visiting in 2019. In total over 243,000 passengers and crew visited the region with many passengers visiting Cork for the first time.
In 2019, Cobh was recognised as one of the best cruise destinations in the world, winning in the Top-Rated British Isles & Western Europe Cruise Destination category. Destinations awarded in this year’s awards received the highest ratings among cruisers who cruised to the destination in the past year and shared their experiences on Cruise Critic.
Port of Cork Chief Executive, Mr Brendan Keating said: “We are hugely proud of the increase in cruise tourism and growing our business to 100 calls has surpassed our expectations. However in order to successfully promote Cork as a sustainable cruise destination, it takes commitment from local tourism bodies, local businesses and Cork City and Cork County Council to work together to enhance the reputation of Cork globally.’
He continued: ‘On average, cruise ship passengers spend €81 during their visit to Cork while crew spend approximately €29. Improving and exciting the passengers' shore experience will encourage a return visit to the region increasing tourism and boosting the local economy.’
As well as Cobh the Port of Cork also operates Bantry Bay Port Company which saw 10 cruise liners calling to the West Cork area this summer. Bantry Harbour and Glengarriff can accommodate the smaller boutique and expedition-style cruise liners whose passengers tend to look for an active cruise. Bantry Bay Port Company has developed a cruise strategy for Bantry in order to grow the business in West Cork. The smaller cruise liner market or ‘expedition’ market has huge growth potential and it is this market that Bantry hopes to capitalise on over the next few years, with the guidance of the Port of Cork.
The cruise industry which anticipates that 30 million passengers globally will cruise in 2019 has seen a major shift in the demographic now taking to the seas. Cruising is seen as an attractive, affordable method of travel, offering passengers multiple destinations and an array of experiences.
What has also become clear is that according to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) travellers want to see the world in a conscious, mindful way and the cruise industry is more conscientious than ever, working carefully to minimize environmental footprints.