Twice the length of Croke Park: 317m cruise ship arrives to call Dublin home
Celebrity Eclipse will 'home-port' in Dublin, bringing an estimated €5 million to the economy
A cruise ship more than twice the length of Croke Park is docking in Dublin today (Sunday) - and it will 'home port' in the city for several weeks.
Celebrity Eclipse is scheduled to arrive at Dublin Port at 9.30am this morning, ahead of an inaugural sailing with up to 2,850 guests tomorrow.
The 317m ship is billed as one of "the most stylish at sea", with passengers enjoying Lawn Clubs with real grass (below), 19 bars and restaurants, a Canyon Ranch SpaClub and a duty-free Michael Kors boutique among other indulgences.
The playing field at Croke Park measures a mere 145m by comparison.
"This is the first time in three years that we’ve added a new European homeport to our itineraries and Dublin has exceeded our expectations," said Jo Rzymowska, VP and managing director for Celebrity Cruise in Ireland, the UK and Asia.
"We're blown away by the welcome."
The ship will now base itself in Dublin for five cruises, carrying over 14,000 people on tours of Ireland and Iceland, and the Norwegian fjords.
It will return to the city on May 10, 19, 27 and June 6.
The 'home-porting', as it's known, is a big step in Dublin's development as a cruise port. Last year, 127 cruise ships and 210,000 visitors arrived in the city - a figure expected to rise to as many as 150 over the 2018 season.
Dublin Port has capital investment of €1 billion planned over the next decade, including a redevelopment of the Alexandra Basin - which will allow the biggest ships in the world to dock as far upriver as the East Link Bridge by 2020.
Each 'turnaround' by Celebrity Eclipse is estimated to be worth €1 million in knock-on economic benefits to the capital, the cruise line says.
"This is an exciting opportunity for the city following years of investment, and a great milestone in the success of our expanding cruise port,” commented Lord Mayor of Dublin, Mícheál MacDonncha.
The Port of Cork has also been investing heavily in cruise, with over 70 cruise ships expected to dock in Cobh during during 2018 - meaning Dublin and Cork now rival such famous European cruise ports as Naples and Monaco.
Celebrity plans to return in 2019 for a second mini-season, with the 3,000-capacity Celebrity Reflection offering several departures between April and June.
"Modern luxury" is Celebrity's USP - the line distinguishes its 12 ships from other mainstream liners through multi-million dollar artworks, a crew to guest ratio of 1:2 and plush 'Suite Class' staterooms, among other premium experiences.
The line's hotly-anticipated 'Edge' Class ships is set to launch this year.