herald

Monday 5 December 2016

Longest ship to ever visit capital docks to party atmosphere

tourism

THE longest ship to ever visit Dublin Port - the MSC Splendia cruise liner carrying 4,600 passengers - was guided into dock this morning.

The magnificent 333-metre long vessel arrived to a Celtic-inspired welcome on the quayside featuring a live ceili band, Irish drummers, dancers and entertainment before they moved on to sample the sights of the city.

The successful docking of the 11th longest cruise ship in the world was a challenging operation for Dublin Port's tug boats.

But Harbour Master David Dignam credited simulation exercises and the abilities of all crew on board with docking the ship successfully.

"Our first challenge was to see how we could safely bring a ship into and out of the port, especially when the river is too narrow to allow it to turn within the port," he said.

"Due credit must be given to the skills of our pilots and the masters of our tugs, Shackleton and Beaufort," he said.

The MSC Splendida is one of more than 80 cruise liners scheduled to dock at Dublin Port this year, bringing with them 140,000 passengers.

The liner boasts a VIP section with 24-hour butler service and features more than a dozen bars and lounges, spa and Turkish baths, four swimming pools, squash courts and a Formula 1 simulator, all spread over 18 decks.

Chief executive of Dublin Port Company Eamonn O'Reilly said he was delighted that the MSC Splendida had called into Dublin Port.

"2015 is an extraordinary year for our cruise business, which we have been patiently building over the past decade."

The company has also revealed that it will be the first port in the country to welcome Disney Cruise Line to Ireland, with Disney Magic coming next year.

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