TODAY marks the start of a hectic period for cruise liners in Cork, with more than 12,500 passengers due to visit between today and next Friday, bringing a multi-million euro boost to Leeside.
Tourists spots throughout the region can expect a busy few days ahead, as more than 8,000 of those are due in between now and Tuesday.
The Celebrity Eclipse arrives in Cobh at 8 this evening, carrying 3,129 passengers. The 121,000 tonne boat is just over 1,040 ft long and travels to Cork from Ponta Delgada on São Miguel Island, Portugal.
The following day the smaller Astor reaches Cork, with 650 passengers on board. 2500 people will sail into Cobh on Serenade of the Sea on Monday, followed by 1582 on the Aidavita the following day.
The North Custom House Quay will also have visitors, when the smaller Le Soleal arrives on May 1 with 264 passengers on board.
Sara Mackeown, Marketing Executive with the Port of Cork, said the liner’s impact will be felt all around Cork.
“The passenger numbers are quite high on some of the calls so it is a great boost for the city and county,” she said. “On average 60% of passengers take pre-booked shore excursions and they will visit Blarney, Cork City, Kinsale, Midleton etc.
“The other 40% are what we call ‘independent’ passengers and generally these passengers will hop on the train to Cork City, take a taxi or wonder into Cobh town.” The port work with local authorities to inform the passengers of the many options available and Irish Rail are on hand to get them into the city.
“Irish rail put on extra trains to accommodate passengers from Cobh to Cork City," Ms McKeown said. “Between ourselves and Cork City Council we provide tourist representatives who board the liners on arrival to promote the region.”
It is just one weekend of a busy year expected at the port, with 94 livers expected to berth in 2018.
Ms McKeown said the port are particularly looking forward to a major arrival on Sunday May 6: “MSC Meraviglia will make her maiden call to Cobh carrying 4500 passengers on board!”
The Meraviglia is a giant even among ocean liners, the fourth-largest cruise ship in the world when it debuted in June last year.
It was built by MSC Cruises at its shipyard in France and weighs more than 171,000 tonnes.
It has a promenade with a LED roof, a water park complete with water slides and a Himalayan rope course. On-board entertainment options include a theatre and a Cirque du Soleil show.
The Meraviglia sets out from Germany on Sunday and will visit two UK ports and Dublin before reaching Cork.