Cruise from Cobh to Norway ready for sail

For the first time, people will be able to take a trip directly from an Irish port on a major cruise ship, courtesy of a deal between a travel agency and the Royal Caribbean International line.

Spaces have been reserved for 200 Irish passengers on the cruise line’s Independence of the Seas, which will dock in Cobh, Co Cork, on Jun 3 and Sept 9 for 12-day cruises of the Norwegian fjords.

From €1,699 per person, based on two people sharing, passengers will get all meals and entertainment on board and return flights from Southampton to either Cork or Dublin.

The deal was struck between Cork-based Lee Travel’s managing director Declan O’Connell and the cruise line company.

“We’ve been working on it since 2008 and there was a lot of to-ing and fro-ing. We could see all these great cruise liners coming in but nobody could get on board them. I’m very confident this will take off,” Mr O’Connell said.

The 339m-high luxury liner has a crew of 1,360 and can handle 4,375 passengers. The ship was recently upgraded, with new restaurants, bars, and outdoor movie screens.

Lorraine Quinn, Royal Caribbean International’s head of Irish sales, said the company was delighted to have entered into the partnership.

“Guests can look forward to the characteristic welcome and service, excellent dining, and innovative family-friendly facilities with a choice of accommodation options which have kept Irish guests coming tack time and again,” she said.

The cruise will visit the Norwegian ports of Olden, Ålesund, Flåm, Stavanger, Kristiansand, and Olso.

It will dock in Zeebrugge, Belgium, before the final leg into Southampton.

Details of the cruises were announced yesterday at a reception in the Port of Cork’s boardroom.

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