By SIOBHÁN CRONIN
THE Port of Cork has said that it hopes to increase the current level of cruise liners docking in West Cork.
This year alone, a total of eight liners, will anchor in Bantry Bay, boosting the local economy.
With a total of 65 cruiser ‘calls’ to the entire Cork region in 2017, the Port of Cork anticipates a ‘very busy season ahead’. Approximately 160,000 passengers and crew are expected to visit the city and county between March and November.
Commercial manager at the Port of Cork, Captain Michael McCarthy said: ‘The 2017 Cork cruise season is booming which is great for the port and the region. The number of calls are up compared to 2016 and we feel very positive about this increase in business. It’s also very encouraging to see cruise lines bringing their newest vessels to Cork on maiden calls.
‘The West Cork area is becoming very popular with the smaller boutique cruise lines and we are beginning to see growth in the cruise business here. This is good news for tourism in West Cork with eight liners calling in 2017. It is our ambition to grow this business and work closely with Cork County Council, local tourism groups and local business to promote the region and attract further calls,’ he said.
‘Passengers cruising on the smaller ships tend to seek out more adventurous type cruises, where they can explore local areas and try out different activities. For this reason West Cork is ideal as it has so much to do for anyone who loves the outdoors,’ Capt McCarthy added.
Saga Cruises’ MV Saga Pearl 2 started the Port of Cork’s cruise liner season on March 20th and seven new liners will call this season on their maiden call, while Princess Cruises’ MV Caribbean Princess carrying 3,500 passengers will make fourteen visits to Cobh this season.
‘It is our ambition as a port company to attract larger cruise ships and increase our cruise calls to 75 per year. Already in 2018 the bookings are indicating we will achieve this goal, if not exceed it,’ said Capt McCarthy.
The Port of Cork operates Bantry Bay Port Company and Bantry Harbour and Glengarriff can accommodate the smaller boutique cruise liners, whose passengers tend to look for active expedition cruises.
To see dates and arrival times of cruise liners calling to Cobh or Bantry, visit www.portofcork.ie