A CRUISE ship carrying 1,500 passengers will dock in Cobh on Friday, July 27 to be given a proper Aussie welcome for the tenth Australia Day to take place in the port town.
The red carpet will be rolled out for the visitors from down under with trad music and dancing from 11am on Cobh's waterfront promenade.
It will be the only Irish stop on the cruise for the Sea Princess ship on the 107-day trip which will visit 38 ports in total and pass through the Suez and Panama canals – travelling 59,000km.
Visitors who disembarked the Sea Princess in Cobh last year had already spent time in Sri Lanka, Dubai, Jordan, Egypt, Greece, Croatia, Italy, Portugal and Spain before docking in Cork.
Many of the passengers will opt to take half-day excursions to visit Blarney and Killarney, but a significant amount will spend the day in the harbour village.
Those wishing to stay in the area will be encouraged to visit the Cobh Heritage Centre where they have the possibility of tracing Irish ancestors, visit Spike Island, Escapade Cobh, the Titanic Experience, St Coleman's Cathedral, the Jameson Distillery in Midleton, Fota Island or even go boating.
“There are so many world-class attractions in Cobh now that the ship should really be making an overnight call to make the most of all that there is to see and do,” said Fionnghuala Smith, chairperson of Cobh Tourism.
As the Sea Princess sails at 10pm, Cobh Confraternity Band will perform a 'sailaway' recital on the Bandstand at 6pm.
Of the 1950 passengers on board, 79% are Australians and 17% are New Zealanders. Their average age is 71 and 1300 of the passengers are doing the full round the world voyage.
Next year’s Sea Princess around the world voyage, which includes a visit to Cobh on July 11 is already on sale with prices for the entire trip starting at just €15,000 all inclusive.
Meanwhile, Cobh county councillor Diarmaid Ó Cadhla has said he plans to advance an initiative to twin Cobh and Sydney to tap to the tourism potential of the link between their two harbours.