Biggest cruise ship ever to visit Cork will arrive on Lusitania anniversary

The opening of the Lusitania Memorial at the Old Head of Kinsale.

The biggest cruise ship ever to visit Cork will arrive in Cobh on Sunday, coinciding with the town’s commemoration of the sinking of the Lusitania.

The MSC Meraviglia, the flagship of MSC Cruises, will be carrying 5,700 passengers. They are on an 11-day cruise, from Hamburg, which will also take in Scotland and the the Norwegian Fjords.

The 167,600-tonne vessel is bigger in weight that the Independence of the Seas.

It will be its first visit to Cork, but it will return to Cobh again, at the end of August.

The town will roll out the red carpet for her first arrival.

“We will have a host of entertainment, and markets set up in the park on the waterside, on both Sunday and bank holiday Monday,” said Cobh Tourism chairwoman Fionnghuala Smith.

“There’s a cruise ship visiting virtually every other day over the next two weeks”.

Ms Smith said it was a fantastic opportunity for the town and for the region, as passengers would get a taste of Irish hospitality and enjoy world-class attractions, such as Spike Island.

The convenience of stepping off a ship and having a beautiful town brimming with things to do results in very happy cruise passengers and provides an important boost to the local economy, she said.

Meanwhile, commemorations marking the sinking of the Lusitania will also take place on Sunday.

It’s 103 years since the Lusitania slipped below the waves off the Old Head of Kinsale, just 18 minutes after being struck by a torpedo from a German U-boat.

The ceremonies will commence in the Old Church Cemetery, just outside the town, at 3pm.

It is there that 170 of the 1,200 who died were laid to rest.

File image of Lusitania Ship.
File image of Lusitania Ship.

Prayers will be said at the gravesides, followed by a performance from the Commodore Choir and the laying of wreaths.

The names of all the victims will be read by local schoolchildren.

Afterwards, a parade, led by a colour party from the ONE (Organisation of National Ex-Servicemen and Women), will be held in the town centre.

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