Cruise liners set to boost Irish tourism
Ireland is on course to record its tenth successive year of cruise liner growth with the trade now at its greatest level since its 1950s heyday.
The good news came as Dublin and Cobh, Co Cork confirmed busy schedules with cruise liners visiting Ireland from April until next December.
Ireland has re-emerged as one of the most popular cruise liner destinations as tourists demand spectacular coastal scenery and heritage destinations.
The cruise liner trade has also been boosted by the fact it is considered the safest element of the international tourist industry in light of recent attacks on sun holiday destinations in Tunisia, Egypt and Turkey.
The cruise liner season will open on April 1 with the visit of the MV Balmoral to Cobh.
Over the next eight months, Irish ports will host some of the biggest vessels afloat including MSC Splendida, Caribbean Princess, Serenade of the Seas, Queen Victoria, Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Silhouette, Regal Princess and Sea Princess.
Cobh invested €1.5m in enhanced quayside facilities so it can handle the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines' 'Quantum' class of super-ships, each capable of carrying 5,000 passengers.
The 2016 season now promises a €15m to €20m economic boost for the south-west region.
Cobh alone will host 58 cruise liners this year.