MSC Meraviglia calling!
The 316m MSC Meraviglia will break records this Saturday as the largest ever ship (by passenger capacity) to dock in Dublin Port.
The massive cruise ship, 65m tall and some three times the length of a soccer pitch, is due to arrive into Dublin Port at 7am on May 5.
MSC Meraviglia is the largest ship by passenger capacity to dock in Dublin - capable of carrying twice the number of guests as the 317m Celebrity Eclipse, for example, which is home-porting in the city from April to June of this year.
It is the world's fifth largest cruise ship at 171,598 gross registered tonnes (GRT), ranking just after Royal Caribbean's Oasis-class vessels, including Symphony of the Seas - at 228,081GRT the world's largest cruise ship.
MSC Meraviglia launched in 2017, with guest amenities including 12 restaurants, Cirque du Soleil at Sea shows, several pools and a 96m central promenade with the longest LED dome at sea (pictured below). It even has a Chocolate Atelier.
Swiss-owned MSC Cruises operates a fleet of 13 ships. Its cruises are regular visitors to Ireland, and MSC Meraviglia will continue to dock in Cobh on Sunday, May 6, as part of a 12-day European itinerary.
“There’s a cruise ship visiting virtually every other day over the next two weeks”, says Fionnghuala Smith, Chairperson of Cobh Tourism, who says passengers can expect a host of entertainment before they set sail again on Monday.
Similar welcomes will be staged at Dublin Port, which is currently redeveloping its Alexandra Basin to allow the biggest ships in the world to dock as far upriver as the East Link Bridge by 2020.
Currently, due to the their sheer size, ships like MSC Meraviglia and Celebrity Eclipse have to be manoeuvred stern first into the Port (see video above).
"The Cruise industry in Ireland is booming and this season we are set to have a record number of cruise ships visit the Port," said Pat Ward of Dublin Port.
Over 150 cruise calls are expected for 2018, bringing over 270,000 visitors.
"It is great to play such a big role in Ireland’s rapidly expanding cruise industry and we are proud to bring our guests to explore this spectacular part of the world," said Antonio Paradiso, MD for MSC Cruises UK & Ireland.
"As well as bringing guests to visit Ireland, in 2017 we carried a record number of Irish passengers on our ships to destinations including the Caribbean and the Emirates.
"This year is set to be an event stronger year for MSC Cruises in Ireland, as we have already booked more passengers in the first few months of 2018 than in the whole of 2017."
MSC Meraviglia departs Dublin at 5pm on Saturday, but will return on August 28.