THE Port of Cork Company has said it is anticipating a bumper cruise ship season, with the number of luxury liners calling to Cork this year set to exceed pre-pandemic levels.
The company has released its eagerly anticipated 2023 cruise schedule, which will more than 110 vessels dock in Cork, potentially generating a huge financial boost for the local economy.
Last year heralded a partial recovery of the lucrative cruise ship business as the industry emerged from the Covid pandemic, with 90 ships carrying more than 115,000 passengers docking in Cork.
It is anticipated that 113 vessels will visit Cork this year, representing am 11% increase on the figure for 2019 prior to the onset of the pandemic, which saw the global collapse to the cruise liner industry.
This came as a bitter blow to the wider Cork economy, given that thousands of passengers traditionally avail of days trips to popular Cork tourist spots including Fota Wildlife Park, Blarney Castle, Kinsale and the Jameson Distillery in Midleton.
The first vessel of the season calling to Cork will be the British Ambassador Line’s ‘The Ambience’, which will dock at the Cobh terminal on April 10 carrying a compliment of 1,400 passengers.
One of the largest natural harbour’s in the world, the Port of Cork is a key trade gateway for Ireland and is one of only two ports in the country capable of servicing all shipping modes from bulk imports to cruise ships.
The Port of Cork Company’s facilities and operations are situated at four distinct locations in Cork’s natural deep-water harbour. The City Quays provide the service for bulks, both Tivoli and Cork Container Terminal (CCT) Ringaskiddy provide the lift on/ lift off, roll-on/ roll-off and bulks services, while Cobh caters for cruise liners with Ireland’s only dedicated deep-water berth for cruise ships.
The company’s chief commercial officer, Conor Mowlds, said they were eagerly anticipating the return of the cruise season.
“Last year, we were delighted to welcome over 115,000 passengers on 90 cruise ships to Cork following a two-year pause as a result of the pandemic. Now, we look forward to what is expected to be a thriving year in the cruise liner industry, as bookings return to pre-pandemic levels,” said Mr Mowlds,”
“This will have a which will have a really positive impact on the local region’s tourism and trade,” he added.
Sentiments echoed by Cobh and Harbour president Johanna Murphy.
“The cruise season is always a huge lift for everyone in Cobh and the local harbour community, so we look forward to what is anticipated to be a busy year of cruise liners which will boost local trade,” she said.
For more information about the 2023 Cork Harbour cruise schedule visit www.portofcork.ie/cruise-schedule-2023