Dublin has welcomed significantly more cruise ships in the past five years
This article was first published in the Itinerary Planning Special Report. All information was correct at the time of printing, but may since have changed.
Dublin in the Republic of Ireland has long been a popular port of call for cruise ships visiting Northern Europe.
Originally a Viking settlement, Dublin is a compact capital city with beautiful Georgian architecture and a modern contemporary feel. It is home to multiple museums and several world-renowned attractions, including The Guinness Storehouse, St Patrick’s Cathedral, Trinity College and The Book of Kells illuminated manuscript, Epic The Irish Immigration Museum and Kilmainham Gaol. Cruise visitors can also enjoy shopping opportunities and lively entertainment performed with a charm that is unique to Dublin. In addition to this, travellers can head to the beautiful coastal villages and gentle sweeping mountains that are just a stone’s throw from the city centre.
Cruise tourism in Dublin has grown remarkably over the past five years, with the number of calls increasing by 50% to reach 151 by the end of 2018. The 2018 cruise schedule included five full turnarounds by Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Eclipse, which took place between April and June. This was the first time that the port had handled full turnarounds on such a large scale.
Dublin is the first new European homeport to be added to Celebrity Cruises itinerary in three years and this was done in response to strong passenger demand from customers who wanted to sail from the city, according to Jo Rzymowska, vice president and managing director of Celebrity Cruises UK and Ireland, and Asia. Passenger feedback about the cruises from Dublin has been positive, so the luxury cruise line has committed to making a further five turnarounds at the port in 2019 and more in 2020 and beyond.
Dublin Port Company is also in negotiations with other cruise companies who wish to homeport in the city. One factor that will contribute towards encouraging these operators to base ships in Dublin is that the port has recently constructed its first 30,000-square-foot cruise terminal, which hosted a total of 14,000 passengers (2,800 per cruise) in 2018. The facility features check-in desks, x-ray machines and holding area for cruisers waiting to board their ships.
The air connectivity enjoyed by Dublin is another contributing factor in the decision-making process for cruise lines considering Dublin as a homeport. Dublin Airport is just 15 minutes from the port and is among the top 20 European airports for global connectivity and the top five for North American Connectivity. Each week, more than 2,300 flights depart from Dublin, including 1,246 flights to more than 100 European destinations and 188 to 16 US cities. Also, Ireland is one of only six countries to offer US emigration pre-clearance checks, giving a smoother transit through airports on both sides of the journey.
Pat Ward, head of Cruise Tourism at Dublin Port Company, believes that these factors combined together bring a real opportunity to grow Dublin as a homeport in Northern Europe. As the industry continues to grow and cruise companies deploy bigger ships, Dublin is well placed to offer cruise passengers the option to start and end their cruise from a charming city.
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