Disney is coming to Dublin in a record season for cruise ships
Dublin Port is shaping up for a record year in cruise tourism, with some 113 cruise calls scheduled for 2016.
The season kicks off in earnest next Tuesday, when the 333m MSC Splendida reverses into the River Liffey with some 4,600 passengers and crew on board.
The 18-deck cruise ship made maritime history when it became the largest ever to dock in Dublin last summer. It returns on May 13 and August 30.
In total, over 180,000 visitors will arrive on cruise ships in 2016.
Among them will be some 3,650 passengers, crew and 'cast' on board Disney Magic, a 300m giant set to make her maiden call in the capital on May 26.
Disney cruises offers "Broadway-calibre" Disney shows, character experiences and movies as well as multiple pools, restaurant and entertainment options.
Going to press, a 7-night cruise out of Barcelona this August was priced from €2,283pp on the Disney cruise website - based on an inside cabin.
Dublin Port is rapidly growing its cruise business, with this year's schedule some 20pc busier than 2015. The €230 million Alexandra Basin Redevelopment Project will allow it host the world's largest cruise ships - up to 362m in length - by 2020, it says.
Efforts are underway to grow Dublin's business as a home or 'turnaround' port that will cater increasingly for cruises that set out from the capital.
This March, marketing agency 'Cruise Dublin' was established to promote the city as a "marquee" cruise destination, and Dublin will also have a chance to showcase itself when it hosts the 2016 Cruise Europe Conference from May 31 to June 2.
"All the signs from the cruise lines now point to Dublin’s potential to become one of the next leading turnaround capitals for cruise passengers by 2020, especially for the North American market,” said Pat Ward, Head of Corporate services at Dublin Port.
It's not just Dublin, of course. The Port of Cork lists some 57 scheduled cruise calls on its website for 2016, most of them in Cobh.
MSC Splendida is scheduled to dock in Cork on Wednesday, May 4.