Port of Cork celebrates busiest cruise season

7th October 2013, Monday
By TheCork.ie Marine Correspondent
news@TheCork.ie

The Port of Cork welcomed MV Albatross, the final cruise liner of the
2013 season to Cobh today following what the Port of Cork confirmed as
the ‘busiest cruise season on record for Cork’.

In total, 62 cruise liners called to the Port of Cork, home to
Ireland’s only dedicated cruise berth, carrying a record 123,000
passengers and crew. These guaranteed visitors are a welcome treat for
Cork, bringing a much needed boost to the local economy for eight
months of the year. In 2013 eight liners made their maiden calls to
the Port of Cork, highlighting the continuing growth of this business
and the commitment from cruise companies to introduce new ships to the
region.

While some of these cruise calls stay overnight, many stay for a full
day allowing their passengers ample time to enjoy the many exciting
shore excursions on offer or simply time to experience Cork City and
region independently. According to Irish Rail, statistics for the
cruise season showed up to 28% of cruise passengers took the train
from Cobh to Cork City. For all of the larger liners, Irish Rail
offers extra trains to ensure passengers can get to Cork City without
delay. This works well for passengers, with many deciding to take the
train from Cobh to Cork in the morning and spend the afternoon in Cobh
or take one of the ship’s shore excursions in the afternoon.

It is imperative that passengers are offered a choice of shore
excursions, both full and half day, so they tailor what is offered to
suit them. The more choice there is for passengers the better, as this
works in favour particularly for repeat passengers. It is well noted
within the cruise industry that it is incumbent on all ports,
destinations and shore tour operators to reinvent themselves
occasionally, to attract both new and repeat passengers. The same must
be done for Cork and the Port of Cork continues to work with City and
County Councils, Irish Rail, Tour Operators and attractions to ensure
Cork continues to meet the demand of cruise lines and their
passengers.

Speaking about the busiest cruise season on record for Cork, Mr John
Mullins Chairman of the Port of Cork said: “This has been an excellent
year for Cork and we have seen a huge jump in passenger numbers this
year. This increase is down to the dedicated cruise berth and the
number of calls of large cruise ships. For example Princess Cruise’s
ship, MV Caribbean Princess called seven times this year, each time
bringing over 4,000 passengers and crew to Cork. The fact that people
can just walk on and off the ship to go shopping or touring increases
the economic impact to the region. The passengers are offered the
option of taking a tour and then come back on the ship to change
before going out again on their own to do some shopping, eating or
drinking and avoiding the repeated hassle of tendering or shuttle
buses.”

With these ambitious plans however, the Port of Cork cannot achieve them alone.

Mr Mullins continued: “There are also a great amount of activities and
attractions on offer in Cork and the region for cruise passengers, and
we remain fully committed to increasing our calls from 62 this year to
80 in the next five years. To do this, we need the continued support
of Irish Rail to offer more trains with added incentives, the tour
operators need to design and offer new shore excursions at competitive
prices and we need the continued support from both City and County
councils to encourage the promotion of the region, so that everything
Cork has to offer is utilised to its full potential.”

Over the years, the Port of Cork has invested in the cruise business
and this is something the Port is committed to continuing. As cruise
ships get larger, cruise companies are searching the globe for
suitable ports capable of handling such vessels. Cork has a huge
advantage over other Irish ports in that it is a naturally deep-water
port with no restrictions; however, Cork needs to enhance the
facilities in Cobh to be able to handle even larger liners and to have
the option of accommodating two liners at one time.

Following this excellent cruise season, the Port of Cork would like to
express their thanks to all their Cork Cruise members, Irish Rail,
TEAM, tour operators, bus companies, travel agents and the many
different attractions around the region for their continued support
and cooperation with the cruise business. The Chairman thanked the
board of directors at the port, management team and staff for
realising the potential of this business for both the Port and the
local economy, and their commitment to provide future infrastructure
to support the business.

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