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Displaying items by tag: Grand Princess

#ATLANTIC REPOSITIONING CRUISE – Another massive cruiseship the Caribbean Princess (2004/112,894grt), is to dock in Dublin Port around lunchtime today, having crossed the Atlantic, from Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The 3,600 passenger capacity 'Grand' class ship operated by Princess Cruises is on a repositioning cruise voyage from North America to Europe. She is to spend the season running cruises based out of Southampton.

Caribbean Princess retains her 'Skywalkers' Nightclub mounted 15 decks at the stern, unlike her sister which called to Dublin Port last month. The structure was removed primarily on grounds of weight so to increase fuel efficiency.

The Bermuda flagged vessel is to berth at Ocean Pier in the centre of the docks which this season is to welcome a total of 90 cruiseships bringing 100,000 passengers contributing €35- €50m to the Dublin economy in 2012. It is estimated that the cruise sector has contributed over €350 million to the capital in the last decade.

Vessels such as the Caribbean Princess and larger-sized ships could be a familar sight closer to the city-centre should proposals to build a €30m dedicated cruise terminal take-off at a site adjacent to the East-Link Bridge, as part of the Dublin Port Company's Masterplan 2012-2040.

Published in Cruise Liners

#CRUISE LINERS – Following Friday's first cruise call to Dublin Port this year of the 300-plus passenger Arion as previously reported, the considerably larger Grand Princess is to call on Wednesday. Notably on this occasion the 2,600 passenger cruiseship is to appear without her signature 'Skywalker' Nightclub, which used to be perched 18 decks-high at the aft of the vessel, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The aptly named nightclub was built on two legs to form a bridge (see PHOTO) and was accessed by a glass gangway. Not only was the structure at such an elevated position but it also overhang beyond the sheer of the stern superstructure below, where clubbers had bird's eye views over the oceans and to numerous ports of calls.

In an operation to remove the Skywalker last year, the structure weighing 211 tons took over 10 hours to complete (as previously reported including VIDEO of the work). The reason for removing the nightclub according to her owners Princess Cruises was to 'significantly improve the operational performance of the ship, including greater fuel efficiency.' For a post dry-docking view click PHOTO.

During the procedure at the Grand Bahama Shipyard in the US, the opportunity included the installation of a new nightclub three decks below and was named One5.

Ironically before the vessel lost weight!....she was the first cruiseship to visit Dublin Port to surpass the 100,000 tonnes milestone, when the leadship of the 'Grand' class docked in 2004.

Published in Cruise Liners
12th April 2012

From Falmouth to the Fjords

#CRUISE LINERS – Dublin Port's first cruise caller for this season will be Arion which today sets sail from Falmouth on an eleven night / twelve day cruise to Scotland and Norwegian fjords. The 5,888 gross tonnes cruiseship built in 1965 is to berth in the capital at Ocean Pier, writes Jehan Ashmore.

The veteran vessel which has sleek traditional lines can carry over 300 passengers and she is operated by Classic International Cruises. Her visit will be one of around 90 cruise calls scheduled to Dublin Port during this year's season which stretches to early October. The majority of these calls will be in the summer and where several ships will be making repeat port of calls.

With so many callers to Dublin Port, this brings a greater variety of vessels as evident between the Arion and Princess Cruises considerably larger Grand Princess which is due next week. The giant vessel weighs over 109,000 gross tonnes and has a capacity for over 4,000 passenger and crew.

The Portuguese flagged Arion is also set to open the season to Galway, as previously reported she is to make an anchorage call off the mid-west harbour next month.

Meanwhile following all the recent focus centred in Cobh, Cruise & Maritime Voyages Marco Polo is expected to arrive this afternoon by berthing at the town's dedicated cruiseship quayside.

Published in Cruise Liners

#CRUISE LINERS- Around 85 cruiseships are scheduled to call to Dublin Port in 2012, which compares closely to the same number of calls for this year's season, writes Jehan Ashmore.

First to start the season will be Grand Princess, which has the accolade of being the inaugural cruiseship to enter the port with a tonnage surpassing the 100,000 gross tonnes. The milestone was marked by the Princess Cruises call in 2004.

As usual with that number of cruise-callers, the variety of vessels will range from the small to the very large. A prime example is the diminutive expedition cruiseship Quest (1,180 tonnes) and at just under 50-metres long has just over the same number in passenger capacity.

In complete contrast to the ice-strenghtened Quest is the giant Caribbean Princess, a larger sister of Grand Princess, can accommodate over 3,000 passengers and she is make several calls.

Noble Caledonia which has been operating Quest (PHOTO) on successful seasons in Scotland, is to embark on itineraries next season to Ireland, England and Wales for the first time. Her half-sister Ocean Nova has called to Dublin on previous occasions.

For only the second time, Queen Elizabeth is due return to the capital (for report click HERE) in late Summer and in the same week, Hebridean Princess is also scheduled to call. The later vessel in recent years was chartered to Queen Elizabeth II, for a cruise off the Scottish Isles. To read more on the small ship's visit to the port earlier this year click HERE.

Published in Cruise Liners
Jewel of the Seas, one of four 90,000 tonnes Radiance Class cruise ships operated by Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL) departed Dublin Port this evening bound for Cork Harbour, writes Jehan Ashmore.
During the cruisecall of the near 300 metre-long vessel, she took on bunkers from the 70m short-sea coastal tanker Keewhit (2,332dwt) which arrived from Liverpool this morning. The procedure to transfer fuel is relatively commonplace particularly with larger cruiseships calling the capital. To see photo of Keewhit transferring fuel in a similar operation which took place when the Grand Princess visited Dublin earlier this year, click HERE.

The 2,500 passenger Jewel of the Seas has a nine-deck centrum which has glass lifts which allows light to flow throughout the spacious and airy ship. Activities range from golf to climbing, a spa and sumptuous restaurants.

When the 2004 built cruiseship docks at the dedicated cruise berth at Cobh in the early hours of tomorrow she will also be sharing the deepwater berth with the 2001 built Silver Whisper. The ultra-luxury vessel accommodates only 388 passengers and is operated by SilverSeas Cruises. To read more about the vessel click HERE.

Both vessels are scheduled to depart Cobh around teatime tomorrow and this will be followed by preparations of the picturesque town which is to welcome the maiden call to Cobh of Queen Elizabeth on Saturday. To read more about the newest vessel of the Cunard Line fleet click HERE. The 2010 built vessel will firstly make an inaugural call to Dublin on Friday prior to the Cobh call which coincides with Cork Harbour Open Day, for event details visit www.corkharbour.ie

Published in Cruise Liners
Following the visit of Grand Princess to Dublin Port on Monday another cruiseship which also had a royal-theme to its name is to dock tommorow, writes Jehan Ashmore.
The cruiseship Silver Explorer was formerly the Prince Albert II, named after the monarch of Monaco who arrived on his first state visit to Ireland accompanied by his fiancée Charlene Whittstock in April.

At 6,000 tonnes, the luxuriously appointed expedition cruiseship caters for only 132 guests. She is designed to explore remote waters and with an ice-strenghtened hull she can provide destinations that include the polar ice-caps. Shore-based excursions from the ship are taken by a fleet of Zodiac-craft to transport passengers to isolated locations.

Onboard the Bahama-flagged vessel, passenger can browse in the boutique, sip a drink in the internet café, enjoy a full-service spa, take a beauty treatment in the salon, get fit in the gym or take it easy in the sauna. Plus there's live-evening entertainment and not forgetting the two top-deck whirlpools.

For a vessel of this size her facilities are comparatively impressive to the large cruise giant's such as the Grand Princess. She became the first cruiseship to measure over 100,000 tonnes when she made an inaugural call to the capital in 2004.

Nearly 300m long the vessel is the equivalent in length to three football pitches. The ship may not actually feature a playing pitch though she does have a nine-hole putting golf course!

Published in Cruise Liners
Cruiseships continue to grow in size but the opposite could be said for Grand Princess when her Skywalker Nightclub weighing some 211 tons was removed, writes Jehan Ashmore.
In a delicate operation, it took over 10 hours for torches to cut through the structure's two-legs that supported the nightclub that had once stood perched on the higgest deck. Overlooking the stern, nightclubbers on deck 18 were afforded spectacular views of oceans and ports-of-call.

A floating crane-barge with a 1,000 ton lifting capacity hoisted the structure sky-high away from the ship which was berthed at the Grand Bahama Shipyard drydock facility. The ships owners, Princess Cruises cited the main reason for the removal was in order to 'significantly improve the operational performance of the ship, including greater fuel efficiency.'

Grand Princess may have lost her signature Skywalker Nightckub but three-decks below a new nightclub, One5, inspired by its Deck 15 location was created. In addition to this work which took place during April and May the 2,600 passenger cruisehip also underwent a major refit. The ship which had its last major refurbishment in 2004 has amenities to include an outdoor movie screen, fitness centre, spa, casino and four swimming pools.
For 'interactive' deckplans click here and interior slideshow click this link.

The distinctive 'Skywalker' feature became one of the most iconic in cruiseship naval architecture when the Grand Princess was launched as leadship
of the 'Grand' class in 1998. Located at the extreme aft of the vessel, the nightclub could only be reached by clubbers using an angled walkway (photo). Externally the feature was referred by some as the 'shopping trolley' and others percieved the design infleunce from towering poops found on ancient war-faring galleons.

Irrespective of the design origins, another 10 'Grand' class vessels were built by the Italian Fincantieni (at Malfalcone) Shipbuilding Group. The 'handle' (photo) feature on the Grand Princess was made with a heavier material compared to Golden Princess (2001) and Star Princess completed a year later. So there are no plans to remove these nightclubs. Of the more recent additions to the class modifications have appeared, notably without the inclusion of the Skywalker Nightclub's but there are changes to funnel designs.

Outside the Princess Cruises brand, the Ventura and Azura (also of the Grand-class) operate for P&O Cruises, serving the UK market from Southampton. The Hamsphire port welcomed the pioneering leadship Grand Princess on 5 May after she made a 16-day trans-Atlantic repositioning voyage from Port Everglades.

The cruiseship which has a crew of 1,200 alone will make the UK port its seasonal homeport this year from where she sails on cruises in Europe. On one of these cruises itineraries the Grand Princess (290m long x 36 beam X 8.5m draft) included a visit to the Port of Cork today. You can monitor the ship from Cobh Cruise Terminal via the 'live' bridge web-cam, noting the vessel is due to depart at 18.00 this evening bound for Dublin Port.

Grand Princess became the first cruiseship to measure over 100,000 gross registered tonnes when the 108,806 (grt) vessel docked in Dublin on 31 August 2004.

Last year the port handled 88 cruisecalls and this number of vessels is to be closely repeated this season. Over 200 cruise calls with around half a million passengers and crew are scheduled to visit the island of Ireland. The cruise sector business is estimated to generate €60m to the economies
north and south.

Published in Cruise Liners
Fred Olsen Cruise Lines 28,388 tonnes Boudicca is to call to Dublin Port next month marking the inaugural cruiseship call for this year's season, writes Jehan Ashmore.
Over 200 cruise calls with around half a million passengers and crew are scheduled to visit the island of Ireland. The cruise sector business is estimated to generate €60m to the economies north and south.

Dublin Port last year had 88 cruisecalls and this number of vessels is to be closely repeated in 2011. One of the calls will be Princess Cruises 3,100 passenger Grand Princess. This was the first cruiseship of over 100,000grt to dock at Dublin which arrived on 31 August 2004 (click for photo on the day) and to read more about the cruiseship industry in Ireland from the IMDO click here.

Outside the capital the following vessels outlined are the first cruiseships to call at other ports in April. The season runs to September, though in recent years occasional calls are still made up to November.

The first cruise-caller at Waterford is Quark Expeditions adventure exploration vessel Ocean Nova. At only 2,118 tonnes the diminutive vessel is only 73m long and equally has the same number of passengers and a crew of 38.

Built in 1992 the polar adventure vessel has an ice-strengthened hull to enable the exploration of the icy waters of Greenland, the Weddell Sea and the Antarctic. A pair of Zodiac craft are provided for shore-landings.

The hosting of the Waterford Tall Ships Race Festival has led to funding of €1.7m from Failte Ireland to upgrade the city-centre's Frank Cassin Wharf. This will allow the large 'A' class tallships to berth and will be a lasting legacy of the festival. The wharf will then be used to berth cruiseships and other marine users. In total the crystal city is to welcome 12 callers to include the Crystal Serenity in July.

Cork is set to welcome 54 cruisecalls to include the return of the Cunard Line's 90,000grt Queen Victoria which made her first call to Cobh last year. The 2007 built vessel has a guest capacity for 2,000. The Cunard flagship Queen Mary is scheduled mid-September.

The deepwater berth at Cobh Cruise Terminal is capable of handling some of the largest cruiseships and which will see the return of the 122,000grt Celebrity Eclipse also in April.

Celebrity Eclipse made her maiden cruise and port of call to Cobh last year following her high profile repatriation voyage from Spain with stranded UK tourists arising from the fallout of the Icelandic volcanic ash-cloud. The 2,850 passenger €500m cruiseship which made an overnight call at Cobh during the May Bank holiday weekend.

From the south to the north at Belfast, the port's first caller on 24 April is the Ocean Nova which makes another appearance on the Irish cruiseship scene.

Belfast Harbour Commissioners have developed the 1km long Stormont Wharf to attract increasingly larger cruiseships to the city. The Ocean Nova's visit will mark over a dozen years since the first cruiseship docked in the northern capital.

In 2011 Belfast is scheduled to accommodate 30 cruise-calls bringing over 50,000 passengers to the city and surrounding environs.

Published in Cruise Liners

The Rolex Fastnet Race - This biennial offshore pilgrimage attracts crews from all walks of life:- from aspiring sailors to professional crews; all ages and all professions. Some are racing for charity, others for a personal challenge. For the world's top professional sailors, it is a 'must-do' race. For some, it will be their first-ever race, and for others, something they have competed in for over 50 years! The race attracts the most diverse fleet of yachts, from beautiful classic yachts to some of the fastest racing machines on the planet – and everything in between.  The testing course passes eight famous landmarks along the route: The Needles, Portland Bill, Start Point, the Lizard, Land’s End, the Fastnet Rock, Bishop’s Rock off the Scillies and Plymouth breakwater (now Cherbourg for 2021 and 2023). After the start in Cowes, the fleet heads westward down The Solent, before exiting into the English Channel at Hurst Castle. The finish is in Plymouth, Devon via the Fastnet Rock, off the southern tip of Ireland

  • The leg across the Celtic Sea to (and from) the Fastnet Rock is known to be unpredictable and challenging. The competitors are exposed to fast-moving Atlantic weather systems and the fleet often encounter tough conditions
  • Flawless decision-making, determination and total commitment are the essential requirements. Crews have to manage and anticipate the changing tidal and meteorological conditions imposed by the complex course
  • The symbol of the race is the Fastnet Rock, located off the southern coast of Ireland. Also known as the Teardrop of Ireland, the Rock marks an evocative turning point in the challenging race
  • Once sailors reach the Fastnet Rock, they are well over halfway to the finish in Plymouth. The lighthouse first shone its light on New Year’s Day in 1854
  • Fastnet Rock originally had six keepers (now unmanned), with four on the rock at a time with the other two on leave. Each man did four weeks on, two weeks off

At A Glance – Fastnet Race

  • The world's largest offshore yacht race
  • The biennial race is 605 nautical miles - Cowes, Fastnet Rock, Plymouth
  • A fleet of over 400 yachts regularly will take part
  • The international fleet is made up of over 26 countries
  • Multihull course record: 1 day, 8 hours, 48 minutes (2011, Banque Populaire V)
  • Monohull course record: 1 day, 18 hours, 39 minutes (2011, Volvo 70, Abu Dhabi)
  • Largest IRC Rated boat is the 100ft (30.48m) Scallywag 100 (HKG)
  • Some of the Smallest boats in the fleet are 30 footers
  • Rolex SA has been a longstanding sponsor of the race since 2001
  • The first race was in 1925 with 7 boats. The Royal Ocean Racing Club was set up as a result

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