THE first cruise ship of the season had a successful visit to Kinsale, with 185 passengers on board.
There are six cruise calls scheduled for the harbour this season. Bantry’s season begins on May 22nd with the first of 13 scheduled calls. Castletownbere, a town usually associated with fishing, will also welcome a cruise ship on May 20th.
In total, West Cork will receive 20 cruise calls in 2023, representing a potential 8,300 cruise visitors to the region. This is up on 2019’s figures when 12 cruise ships and 6,400 passengers included West Cork in their itineraries.
Cork county mayor Cllr Danny Collins welcomed the L’Austral, a luxury expedition ship owned by French company Ponant, to Kinsale recently.
Arriving ashore on tender boats, passengers enjoyed traditional music by musicians from Ballinspittle Comhaltas, accompanied by Irish dancers on the pier.
‘I was delighted to welcome the first cruise ship of the season,’ said county mayor Danny Collins. ‘We have so much to offer cruise visitors in Cork, from stunning landscapes and fascinating history to vibrant culture and delicious cuisine. I am confident that our guests had a memorable experience in Kinsale.’
The ship was on an eight-day, one-way itinerary from Bordeaux to Dublin that sailed along the French Atlantic coast, continued to Cornwall before coming to Kinsale, its last stopover before continuing to the capital.
Passengers were welcomed to Kinsale by Cllr Marie O’Sullivan, the chair of Cork County Council’s Bandon Kinsale Municipal District.
Visitors chose from various organised tours, including a culinary walking tour of Kinsale, a visit to Charles Fort and the Old Head of Kinsale, and a visit to the Jameson Distillery. Some of the guests also spent time discovering the town independently. Local businesses, Kinsale Mead and KoKo Kinsale chocolates, provided departing guests with a taste of Kinsale to take away.
The next cruise ship to visit Kinsale is another Ponant ship, the Dumont d’Urville, which returns, having first visited in 2019.
With capacity for 185 guests, this cruise features notable experts and experiences that embrace local cultures and dive deeper into a destination’s history, cuisine, language, environment, and wildlife.