Wednesday 26 April 2017

Giant cruise ship announces return visit to Dublin Port this Thursday

Dun Laoghaire disappointment

MSC Splendida: Dublin bound on May 11.
MSC Splendida: Dublin bound on May 11.
The MSC Splendida towers over the Poolbeg chimneys as it enters Dublin Port
Celebrating the arrival of the MSC Splendida in Dublin Port
MSC Splendida: Below deck.
A cabin on board MSC Splendida.
MSC Splendida being towed stern first into Dublin Port on May11.
The MSC Splendida cruise liner arriving at Dublin from Scotland in reverse (due to its size) this morning. Photo Gary Ashe
Pól Ó Conghaile

Pól Ó Conghaile

MSC Splendida, the 333m cruise ship that reversed into Dublin Port last week, is set for a return visit to Dublin.

MSC Cruises has confirmed that the ship will be back for a second visit at 4.30am this Thursday, May 21.

Following her debut call last Monday (May 11), MSC Splendida had been scheduled to anchor offshore at Dun Laoghaire, but has now changed its plans to re-enter Dublin Port.

“Getting MSC Splendida into Dublin Port is no mean feat," said Giles Hawke, MSC Cruises executive director for the UK and Ireland.

"But judging by the amazing feedback we have received, it is certainly an effort worth making. Our cruise guests love the convenience of being able to disembark quickly and make the most of their time in such a beautiful and friendly city."

MSC Splendida made maritime history as the largest cruise ship ever to dock in Dublin Port during her recent visit, and staff were "blown away" by the amount of people lining the Liffey to wave it off, Hawke added.

Celebrating MSC Splendida's arrival on May 11

Having carried out preparations for the anticipated visit, however, the Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company expressed dismay over the change of plans.

"We are disappointed and surprised that the MSC Splendida  has transferred its call to Dublin Port, considering that this was a scheduled anchorage call to Dun Laoghaire Harbour," said Captain Simon Coates, Habour Master, Dun Laoghaire Harbour.

Dun Laoghaire had expected to welcome 21 cruise ships this season; while Dublin Port is set to welcome 83.

In switching from Dun Laoghaire, where it would have anchored in Dublin Bay, MSC Cruises has tweaked the ship’s itinerary so it arrives and departs when the tide is at its highest.

MSC Splendida will now arrive into Dublin at 4.30am and depart at 11pm – giving passengers the opportunity to experience a full day in the city, the Port says.

Passengers are currently enjoying a 12-night round-Britain itinerary.

Read more: Until we get shipshape, let's not go overboard with Dublin as a cruise ship capital

At 137,926GT and just over 333 metres in length, MSC Splendida is one of the largest vessels in the MSC Cruises fleet – one of four ‘Fantasia-class’ ships.

Before entering Dublin Port, which has 300m operational limit on ship length, MSC Splendida's captain flew from Italy to Cork to practise the navigation on the high-tech bridge simulator at the National Maritime College of Ireland.

The ship's length meant it had to be reversed into Alexandra Basin.

A final round-Britain itinerary this summer has a planned stop in Dun Laoghaire on August 29 - no announcement has been made as to whether that will be altered.

MSC Splendida being towed (in reverse) into Dublin Port

The MSC Splendida was at the centre of a tragedy this March 18, when 12 of its passengers were killed during a terrorist attack on Tunisia's Bardo Museum.

The company has halted visits to the country "for the foreseeable future".

As with other cruise companies, however - such as Royal Caribbean, which is basing its new Anthem of the Seas ship out of Southampton this summer - MSC is actively growing brand awareness among British and Irish cruise guests.

MSC Splendida, which debuted in 2009, features over a dozen bars and lounges, four swimming pools, a spa, Turkish baths and a Formula 1 simulator spread over its 17 decks. It also boasts a Swarovski crystal staircase in the main atrium.

From Dublin, she will sail to Greenock (May 22) and Ringaskiddy (May 23).

On Wednesday, Dun Laoghaire will see the arrival of the Queen Mary II.

MSC Splendida in Numbers:

  • 333.3 metres - length of the ship, equal to 35 double-decker buses
  • 66.8 metres - height, taller than Liberty Hall
  • 4,363 - passengers at full occupancy
  • 18 - decks (but there’s no Deck 17 – Italians consider ‘17’ to be an unlucky number because rearranging the letters in the Roman numerals can spell ‘VIXI’,  which means ‘I have lived’ or, more literally, ‘I am dead’)
  • 1,600 - seats in its on-board theatre
  • 55,000 - horsepower, the same as 120 Ferraris
  • 1,118 - miles of cable on board (the distance from Dublin to Turin)
  • 13,743 - litres of milk passengers will consume on their 12-night sailing
  • 9,545 - kilos of fish passengers will consume
  • 2 - visits MSC Splendida will have made to Dublin this month

Read more:

Disney cruise ship set to make dreams come true for Dublin Port 

Travel TV: Anthem of the Seas - inside the world's hottest cruise ship

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