Explora I anchored in Lough Foyle, on the north coast of Ireland
Explora Journeys’ luxury cruise ship Explora I has made its maiden call at Foyle Port in Ireland, as part of its inaugural UK and Ireland voyage.
In keeping with maritime tradition, delegates from Fáilte Ireland, Donegal County Council, Go Visit Inishowen, Visit Derry, Hamilton Shipping and Foyle Port marked the occasion by exchanging plaques with the ship’s captain, Serena Melani.
“I am delighted to welcome this luxury cruise ship Explora I to Donegal today on its inaugural visit,” said Martin Harley, Mayor of Donegal County Council. “Donegal and the northwest region provide a unique experience for the passengers and crew, many of whom are visiting Ireland for the first time. Showcasing Donegal and the northwest region’s natural, unspoilt beauty will pay dividends in the future, and we look forward to many of today’s visitors returning to our region in the years ahead. I would like to congratulate everyone involved on making this visit of Explora I such a great success and hope it will be the first of many.”
Explora I embarked on her maiden voyage on 1 August 2023 from Copenhagen in Denmark. After spending several weeks in Northern Europe, the ship will reposition to North America for autumn and the Caribbean Sea for the winter season.
Foyle Port will host six cruise ships between 1 and 8 September; both Azamara Journey and Noble Caledonia’s Island Sky visited the commercial Port at Lisahally on 2 September – two cruise ships in one day is another first for the Irish port.
“It is an absolute honour to welcome the guests and crew of this extraordinary ship on her first visit to the island,” said Captain Bill McCann, Foyle Port’s harbour master. “We are thrilled cruise visits to the region doubled in 2023; of 17 ships, seven of these have been inaugural calls, showing the growth of cruise tourism to the northwest.”
Foyle Port is expected to handle over 14,000 passengers and crew by the end of the 2023 cruise season.