One of the world’s longest cruise liners docked in Cork today — all 333m of her.
The MSC Splendida and her 4,600 passengers and crew anchors at the Port of Cork until 8pm, when all aboard will set sail for Southampton and then Hamburg to complete their 15-day northern Europe cruise.
The luxury liner landed in Irish waters yesterday and had to reverse up the River Liffey to dock at Dublin Port — the 140k tonne ship, which is the 11th-longest in the world, was too big to complete a turn there.
“When asked whether we could accommodate these larger ships, 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,” said Captain David Dignam, Dublin Port Harbour Master.
“The result of our many simulation exercises has convinced me and the cruise lines that, weather permitting, we can safely enter the port bow first and then manoeuvre stern first out, or vice versa.”
The Splendida has 1,637 cabins and boasts four swimming pools, a spa, Turkish baths, 24-hour butler service, more than a dozen bars and lounges, squash courts, and a Formula 1 simulator.
“The cruise market is very dynamic and fast changing. We handled 86 ships last year and welcomed 141,000 visitors,” said Dublin Port Company chief executive Eamonn O’Reilly. “We now expect that we will exceed these figures this year as many of the 18 ships which had originally planned to anchor in the bay may now opt to come into Dublin Port.”
However, the Splendida hit headlines for different reasons this year. In March, the vessel docked off Tunisia when jihadists stormed a museum. After the incident, in which 12 passengers were killed and 13 injured, the operator replaced Tunisia on the route with Malta.
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