MORE than 4,500 cruise ship passengers visited Bantry this year, on board nine vessels.
Figures just released by the Port of Cork reveal that five of these cruisers were making their maiden voyage.
The largest vessel was The Spirit of Adventure which measured 236m, and so far six cruise ships are already booked for 2023.
The cruise liner industry is estimated to contribute €70m to the national economy and on average €14m per year to local economies such as Cork.
Returning to near pre-pandemic levels, a total of 90 cruise ships docked in both the Port of Cork and Bantry Bay Port this year, welcoming over 115,000 passengers to the region.
Speaking at the final call of the season, Conor Mowlds, chief commercial officer at the Port of Cork Company stated: ‘The cruise sector plays a crucial role in the country’s tourism and hospitality industries and we were delighted to see it return this year to a great degree of success.
‘We made many strides in rebuilding the sector to pre-pandemic levels and the outlook for 2023 is even more positive,’ he added.
The large cruise liners have also attracted a lot of sight-seers to Bantry Bay.