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The latest cruise ship from Saga Cruises, the highly anticipated 'Spirit of Discovery' has docked in Cobh on her make her maiden call to a wet Cork Harbour today.

As Afloat's Jehan Ashmore wrote yesterday, this brand new, luxury boutique British liner carries 999 passengers on board and was recently named by the Duchess of Cornwall, at an official naming ceremony in Dover.

Also as Afloat reported earlier, the Cork Harbour destination for the Spirit of Discovery was this week voted one of the world's top stopovers. 

Saga Cruises have a rich history calling to the Port of Cork and have included Cobh on their British Isles cruise itinerary for many years now, as well as Belfast and Dublin. To mark the maiden calls to Dublin, Belfast and Cork, the ports and Excursions Ireland jointly commissioned a special shamrock magnet for every passenger on the inaugural cruise.

See photo gallery below 

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Published in Port of Cork

Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council has said that “significant commercial, technical and environmental risk” had influenced its decision to withdraw a planning application for a 30 million euro cruise liner berth in Dun Laoghaire on Dublin Bay writes Lorna Siggins

In a statement to Afloat, the local authority said that the cruise berth planning application, originally made by Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company, was withdrawn by the council on May 14th.

“A report to council in May 2019 advised of the significant commercial, technical and environmental risk associated with this project,” a spokesman for the council said.

"Tourism interests predict Dún Laoghaire will still be a popular cruise ship destination"

Tourism interests have predicted that Dún Laoghaire will still be a popular cruise ship destination, in spite of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown county council’s decision.

An Bord Pleanála has confirmed that the application for an eight-year permit to construct a cruise berth facility in Dun Laoghaire was withdrawn last week.

Independent senator Victor Boyhan has welcomed the move by the local authority but has said that “questions need to be answered” on the entire cost of the plan.

An Bord Pleanála had granted permission in November 2016 for the controversial cruise ship berth but had restricted the size of vessel which it could facilitate to 250 metres.

The original planning application by Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company aimed to accommodate cruise ships of up to 340 metres long, at a berth extending 435 metres.

The company had aimed to plan for the harbour’s future in the wake of Stena Line’s decision in 2015 to stop its ferry service between Dun Laoghaire and Holyhead. This broke the 170-year old ferry link between Dun Laoghaire and Wales – a service Stena had run from 1995.

The ruling was challenged by the Save our Seafront campaign group in a High Court judicial review, and the application was referred back to the planning appeals board.

In July 2017, An Bord Pleanála relisted the application to allow” issues raised at the judicial review” to be considered, according to a spokesman.

This elicited a strong reaction from the Combined Yacht Clubs grouping in Dun Laoghaire, which described as “shattering” the re-opening of the application.

The harbour has since been taken over by the local authority, and several months ago councillors were informed that it had no funds for a proposed €5 million urban beach, a €51 million diaspora centre and a €30 million cruise berth facility.

A progress report to councillors indicated that about €1 million had been spent on the cruise berth plan, of which €250,000 was provided by the council.

Senator Boyhan said the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown county council decision to withdraw the planning application “makes absolute sense”, given that the appeals board had received over 150 objections to the project.

“It was a crazy idea that should never have got so far, yet initially council planners were very supportive of the idea,” Mr Boyhan said.

“If it went ahead, it would have destroyed the heritage harbour and its environs,” he said, adding that “people must be held to account” for large costs incurred.

Excursions Ireland, which handles cruise ship visits to Irish ports, said Dun Laoghaire would still be a “great destination for cruise vessels”, although larger craft have to anchor off the harbour.

“We’d love it to be developed, particularly now that Dublin Port has announced it will have to restrict the number of cruise ships it can take from 2021 onwards due to capacity constraints,” Excursions Ireland managing director Niamh McCarthy said.

“However, some operators actually prefer Dun Laoghaire, and it is a great destination for the more independent guests,” she said.

Published in Cruise Liners
Tagged under

Tourism interests have said Dún Laoghaire will still be a cruise ship destination, in spite of Dun Laoghaire-Rathdown County Council’s decision to withdraw controversial plans for a 30 million euro cruise berth in the south Dublin harbour writes Lorna Siggins

An Bord Pleanála has confirmed that the application for an eight-year permit to construct a cruise berth facility in Dun Laoghaire was withdrawn last week.

Independent senator Victor Boyhan has welcomed the move by the local authority but has said that “questions need to be answered” on the entire cost of the plan.

"The application for an eight-year permit to construct a cruise berth facility in Dun Laoghaire was withdrawn last week"

An Bord Pleanála had granted permission in November 2016 for the controversial cruise ship berth but had restricted the size of vessel which it could facilitate to 250 metres.

The original planning application by Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company aimed to accommodate cruise ships of up to 340 metres long, at a berth extending 435 metres.

The ruling was challenged by the Save our Seafront campaign group in a High Court judicial review, and the application was referred back to the planning appeals board.

In July 2017, An Bord Pleanála relisted the application to allow” issues raised at the judicial review” to be considered, according to a spokesman.

This elicited a strong reaction from the Combined Yacht Clubs grouping in Dun Laoghaire, which described as “shattering” the re-opening of the application.

The harbour has since been taken over by the local authority, and several months ago councillors were informed that it had no funds for a proposed €5 million urban beach, a €51 million diaspora centre and a €30 million cruise berth facility.

A progress report to councillors indicated that about €1 million had been spent on the cruise berth plan, of which €250,000 was provided by the council.

Senator Boyhan said the Dun Laoghaire Rathdown county council decision to withdraw the planning application “makes absolute sense”, given that the appeals board had received over 150 objections to the project.

“It was a crazy idea that should never have got so far, yet initially council planners were very supportive of the idea,” Mr Boyhan said.

“If it went ahead, it would have destroyed the heritage harbour and its environs,” he said, adding that “people must be held to account” for large costs incurred.

Excursions Ireland, which handles cruise ship visits to Irish ports, said Dun Laoghaire would still be a “great destination for cruise vessels”, although larger craft has to anchor off the harbour.

“We’d love it to be developed, particularly now that Dublin Port has announced it will have to restrict the number of cruise ships it can take from 2021 onwards due to capacity constraints,” Excursions Ireland managing director Niamh McCarthy said.

“However, some operators actually prefer Dun Laoghaire, and it is a great destination for the more independent guests,” she said.

Published in Dublin Bay

Chairman of Irish Cruise Liner body Cruise Ireland, Mr Conor Mowlds said; “Cruise Ireland welcomed the positive meeting held with Shane Ross TD, Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin TD, Minister of State with responsibility for Tourism and Sport, government agencies and other commercial bodies involved in supporting Ireland’s Cruise Industry.

The meeting was called by Ministers Ross to discuss Dublin Port’s temporary move to reduce cruise vessel calls to the capital while it develops additional essential port infrastructure during the interim period of 2021-2024.

The meeting provided an opportunity for the relevant bodies to consider the options available to Ireland that would help to reduce the impact on the Irish Cruise Industry following Dublin Port’s strategic decision.

With this meeting and the recent attendance at the Global Cruise Seatrade Exhibition in Miami, Cruise Ireland is confident that positive measures are being taken to mitigate the temporary impact on the industry, and we are committed to supporting the future marketing and promotion of Ireland as a premier cruise destination.”

Published in Cruise Liners
Tagged under

Plans have been approved for an iconic building on the banks of the Clyde at Greenock in the North Channel of the Irish Sea to welcome cruise ship passengers.

The plans, approved this month by Inverclyde planning board, are for a new visitor centre, restaurant and gallery at Greenock Ocean Terminal.

The overall project, led by Inverclyde Council, is part of the Glasgow City Region City Deal and aims to provide a new berthing facility and visitor centre to boost cruise ship passengers welcomed to Scotland through the Greenock facility operated by Peel Ports.

Now a key milestone, planning permission, has been granted.

In addition to the state of the art visitor centre welcoming cruise ship passengers from across the world, the plans also include a purpose-built gallery celebrating the work of Inverclyde resident and artist George Wyllie (1921-2012) and a new restaurant with panoramic views across the Clyde.

As part of the outline business case published by Inverclyde Council, it is estimated that over 150,000 passengers could pass through Greenock Ocean Terminal delivering £26m in annual visitor and crew spend to the Scottish economy.

Inverclyde Council Leader Councillor Stephen McCabe said: “Planning application approval is an important milestone in the delivery of this project as part of the Glasgow City Region City Deal. The aim of the project is to boost the capacity at Greenock Ocean Terminal for cruise ships. The addition of a restaurant and Wyllie Gallery will help to provide a year-round attraction for visitors to Greenock and Inverclyde at this iconic building on the banks of Clyde.

“As a key City Deal project, the new visitor centre at Greenock Ocean Terminal aims to make a significant contribution to economic growth and international tourism across the wider city region area.”

Councillor David Wilson, Inverclyde planning board convener, welcomed the approval of the planning application. He said: “This is a welcome application and one the board where wholehearted in their approval. Inverclyde has a great deal to offer the visitor whether coming to Scotland by cruise ship from all over the world or visiting from other parts of the United Kingdom. The new visitor centre, gallery and restaurant will enhance the offer to domestic and overseas visitors. The economic value of the cruise ship sector to Scotland is a key part of this project and its value to the country, particularly with the potential to substantially grow in future years, should not be underestimated.”

The proposal for a new Wyllie Gallery showcasing the life and work of the artist will also stage important exhibitions and events celebrating contemporary artists from across Scotland and further afield.

When the planning application was submitted, artist George Wyllie’s elder daughter, Louise Wyllie, said: “Inverclyde Council’s vision in realising this complex project is to be applauded.

“It has always been an ambition of The George Wyllie Foundation to celebrate and mark my father’s life and work in Inverclyde; an area which he loved and which was the lifeblood of all his art works.

“This exciting development at Ocean Terminal in Greenock marks a sea-change in the Foundation’s on-going voyage to mark his legacy as a ground-breaking artist and to make more people aware of his life’s work.

“Although making and creating art – be it music, plays or sculpture – was always a big part of his life, my father worked as a Customs and Excise officer for many years in this very spot. I know he would be thrilled that a world-class art space, designed by award-winning architect, Richard Murphy, was going to be part of a bigger picture which aims to inject new life into this area of Greenock.

Louise, who is also a trustee of the George Wyllie Foundation, added: “Giving access to arts for all was always part of my father’s approach to creativity and we can’t wait to get started on a host of exciting arts-for-all projects.”

The Greenock Ocean Terminal project to create a visitor centre and berthing facility is expected to cost £14.7m as part of the £1bn Glasgow City Region City Deal which is funded equally by the Scottish and UK governments.

The proposal for a new visitor centre landmark building for Greenock is being developed by Richard Murphy Architects, one of Scotland’s most celebrated architect firms. The company has won an unprecedented 22 RIBA Awards.

The visitor centre is scheduled for completion in 2020.

Published in Cruise Liners
Tagged under

#corkharbour - A picket by protestors held at Port of Cork sites in Cobh due to a dispute over public rights of way have been asked to stop, due to concerns that it is giving a bad impression to cruise liner tourists.

Locals reports EchoLive.ie are aggrieved that access to the Five Foot Way on Deepwater Quay has been restricted when cruise liners are docked.

However, the Port of Cork has said it needs to close the area for health and safety reasons when incoming cruise liners are tying up and taking off.

The 580 passengers arriving on the first cruise liner of the season on Monday, the Astoria, were met with protesters and more demonstrations are planned if an agreement is not reached.

The protestors have moved to clarify they are not picketing against the liners but some local councillors urged them to pursue the matter through other avenues.

More on the story can be read through this link. 

Published in Cork Harbour

A group of businesses across the tourism, retail and transport sectors have come together to campaign against the Dublin Port Company’s surprise ban on cruise ships entering Dublin Port from 2021. The group, which will be known as the All-Ireland Cruise Ship Action Group (AICSAG) was launched today at an event in Buswells Hotel in Dublin.

The group was formed following Dublin Port’s recent decision is in stark contrast to their activity in the past ten years of promoting Dublin Port as a cruise destination and highlighting the benefits cruise ships bring to the Irish economy and tourism business.

As Afloat reported yesterday, Dublin Town, the not for profit organisation charged with creating a welcoming and economically viable city environment in Dublin, has also urged Dublin Port to reconsider its decision to cut cruise ship calls.

330mRoyalPrincesscruiseship 121The 330m Royal Princess cruise ship that arrived in Dublin last year carrying more than 3,000 passengers and crew. Her arrival kickstarted a record cruise season for Dublin Port with 151 cruise calls confirmed for 2018, bringing just over 270,000 visitors to the city in 2018. Photo: Conor McCabe Photography.

AICSAG will be ramping up its campaign to reverse the decision by hosting a series of roadshows and media briefings across the island of Ireland, stopping off at principal locations such as Belfast, Cork and Waterford before travelling to the west and northwest of Ireland. The group is made up of concerned businesses in the retail, transport and tourism sectors who will be severely impacted by Dublin Port’s move. The group has the backing of DublinTown and Retail Excellence Ireland.

According to the Group’s spokesperson Niamh McCarthy, Chief Executive of Excursions Ireland, the Dublin Port Company’s decision will ‘’devastate Irish tourism and is driving a death nail into our business. Last year, cruise ships brought over 442,000 visitors to Ireland and generated over €50 million for the Irish economy. If Dublin Port is allowed to go ahead with its plan, all of this will be lost forever. We are calling on Government and the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport to take immediate action to protect our jobs and businesses.’’

Niamh went on to say; ‘’for the past ten years, the Dublin Port Company have played an important role by increasing the numbers of cruise ships docking in Dublin and were at the forefront of highlighting their benefit to the Irish economy. Dublin Port have performed a complete sea change, to everyone’s amazement. Their latest damaging strategy has come out of nowhere and will risk the many thousands of jobs in Ireland dependent on the sector. This sudden change in policy is a total shock to both the all-Ireland tourism sector and its international stakeholders.’’

According to the other spokesperson, AICSAG member Feargal Barton of Barton’s Transport, the Dublin Port Company’s decision will also have a catastrophic impact on Ireland’s other port cities of Belfast, Cork and Waterford. ‘‘The cruise companies market Ireland as a destination, and in addition to Dublin the cruise ships stop off at Belfast, Waterford and Cork. Without access to Dublin Port, cruise companies will no longer stop in other Irish ports and will take their business to other European destinations. The cruise companies arrange cruises and marketing plans two years in advance, so urgent action is required to save the business for the 2021 season.’’

The recent decision by the Dublin Port Company to stop cruise ships docking at Dublin Port from 2021 was taken without any consultations or engagement with the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, local businesses, Dublin City Council, or the other Irish ports, namely Belfast, Waterford and Cork, who will be severely impacted by this decision.

Published in Cruise Liners
Tagged under

#CruiseLiners - Two million cruise passenger visitors made for a record breaking year at the Port of Southampton in 2017 according to AB Ports, the owner-operators of the UK's leading cruiseport.

The visitors brought with them a massive multi-million pound cash injection to the local economy.

Every time a cruise ship visits Southampton, it is estimated to bring a cash boost of £2m and in 2017 there more than 500 cruise calls.

ABP Southampton Director, Alastair Welch, said: “2017 was a record-breaking year for the Port of Southampton and 2018 looks set to be even busier.
“A huge amount of work goes into ensuring all passengers transit our facilities with the greatest of ease and it is testament to our whole port community that 2m cruise passengers receive Southampton’s world class service.”

In 2017 the port experienced its busiest long weekend ever when 15 cruise ships visited the port in June.

And it was recognised for the ninth consecutive year as the Best UK Departure Port by Cruise Critic UK editors.

In 2018 the port can look forward to:

· Eight maiden calls

· A naming ceremony for Azamara Pursuit following a major refit at Harland & Wolff, Belfast as reported on Afloat. The work in April is to be carried out by the Newry based speciliast fit-out firm, MJM Group.

Azamara Pursuit will be christened in Southampton in a first for Azamara Club Cruises. The lines other two ships, Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest, missed out on an official naming ceremony as they went straight into service after their original refurbishments.

Following the naming of Azamara Pursuit on 28 August, there will be a two-night celebratory cruise. Azamara Pursuit formerly sailed for P&O Cruises as Adonia (see Cuba cruises), and was acquired by Azamara in September 2017.

Azamara Chief Operating Officer Carol Cabezas said “This ship has a very strong British heritage and it has a fantastic following here. Plus we have seen a tremendous amount of demand from the UK audience. We’ve never had a christening in our brand’s history and we want to do that in Southampton.”

Also calling for the first time in Southampton will be: Aida Perla; Norwegian Bliss; MSC Meraviglia; Sapphire Princess; MS Zuiderdam; Seven Seas Navigator and MS Koningsdam.

On August 31 the port will experience a 6 ship day when Arcadia, Aurora, Braemar, Independence of the Seas, Mein Schiff 3 and Queen Victoria will all be alongside in Southampton. This day will showcase the diversity Southampton delivers for a range of lines and the breadth of off the cruise industry now has.

Published in Cruise Liners

Saga Cruises’ MV Saga Pearl 2 will start the Port of Cork’s cruise liner season on 20th March, the first of 65 calls expected to visit Cork this season. Seven new liners will call this season on their maiden call, while Princess Cruises’ MV Caribbean Princess carrying 3,500 passengers will make fourteen visits this season.

With 65 calls in 2017, the Port of Cork anticipates a very busy season ahead for all involved, and an increased economic benefit for the region. Approximately 160,000 passengers and crew are expected to visit the city and county between March and November.

Commercial Manager at the Port of Cork, Captain Michael McCarthy said: ‘The 2017 Cork cruise season is booming which is great for the port and the region. The numbers of calls are up compared to 2016 and we feel very positive about this increase in business. It’s also very encouraging to see cruise lines bringing their newest vessels to Cork on maiden calls and choosing Cobh as part of their cruising route.’

He continued: ‘It is our ambition as a port company to attract larger cruise ships and increase our cruise calls to 75 per year. Already in 2018 the bookings are indicating we will achieve this goal, if not exceed it.’

In 2016 Cruise Critic, the world's leading cruise review site and online cruise community, announced the winners of the inaugural Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Destination Awards with Cork’s Cobh ranked second favourite cruise destination in the British Isles and Western Europe. These awards recognised the high level of effort that goes into ensuring every cruise passenger visiting Cobh has a memorable visit to the region.

As well as Cork the Port of Cork also operates Bantry Bay Port Company which will see eight 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.

Published in Port of Cork

#Warrenpoint - Trade figures for Warrenpoint Harbour Authority released today reveal record volumes in tonnage of goods imported and exported through the Co. Down port for the year 2016.

The port recorded 3.48 million tonnes of cargo – a 7.4% growth on 2015 figures.

This reflects a record breaking achievement for the harbour authority whose new website highlights that a total of 969 vessels called to the port last year. 

Volumes include significant increases in the roll-on/roll-off trade, containers, animal feed imports for the agri-food sector, timber and steel imports, export of cement and recyclables. In addition to various other general cargoes including coal and fertiliser.

New business included the development of the port as a cruiseship destination (Afloat adds the inaugural caller Saga Pearl II, firstly in 2014 and also last year). The port has also handed project cargoes including wind turbines.

Chief Executive, Mr Peter Conway, said “Another strong performance by the Port reflects the recent improvements in the economy both in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. The Port remains a major economic driver for its hinterland creating prosperity and securing additional employment”.

Published in Ports & Shipping
Page 1 of 40

The Half Ton Class was created by the Offshore Racing Council for boats within the racing band not exceeding 22'-0". The ORC decided that the rule should "....permit the development of seaworthy offshore racing yachts...The Council will endeavour to protect the majority of the existing IOR fleet from rapid obsolescence caused by ....developments which produce increased performance without corresponding changes in ratings..."

When first introduced the IOR rule was perfectly adequate for rating boats in existence at that time. However yacht designers naturally examined the rule to seize upon any advantage they could find, the most noticeable of which has been a reduction in displacement and a return to fractional rigs.

After 1993, when the IOR Mk.III rule reached it termination due to lack of people building new boats, the rule was replaced by the CHS (Channel) Handicap system which in turn developed into the IRC system now used.

The IRC handicap system operates by a secret formula which tries to develop boats which are 'Cruising type' of relatively heavy boats with good internal accommodation. It tends to penalise boats with excessive stability or excessive sail area.

Competitions

The most significant events for the Half Ton Class has been the annual Half Ton Cup which was sailed under the IOR rules until 1993. More recently this has been replaced with the Half Ton Classics Cup. The venue of the event moved from continent to continent with over-representation on French or British ports. In later years the event is held biennially. Initially, it was proposed to hold events in Ireland, Britain and France by rotation. However, it was the Belgians who took the ball and ran with it. The Class is now managed from Belgium. 

At A Glance – Half Ton Classics Cup Winners

  • 2017 – Kinsale – Swuzzlebubble – Phil Plumtree – Farr 1977
  • 2016 – Falmouth – Swuzzlebubble – Greg Peck – Farr 1977
  • 2015 – Nieuwport – Checkmate XV – David Cullen – Humphreys 1985
  • 2014 – St Quay Portrieux – Swuzzlebubble – Peter Morton – Farr 1977
  • 2013 – Boulogne – Checkmate XV – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1985
  • 2011 – Cowes – Chimp – Michael Kershaw – Berret 1978
  • 2009 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978
  • 2007 – Dun Laoghaire – Henri-Lloyd Harmony – Nigel Biggs – Humphreys 1980~
  • 2005 – Dinard – Gingko – Patrick Lobrichon – Mauric 1968
  • 2003 – Nieuwpoort – Général Tapioca – Philippe Pilate – Berret 1978

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