The longest vessel ever to visit Dublin Port has returned to the capital prior to its departure for Cork on Tuesday evening.
The 333 metre-long MSC Splendida first visited Dublin last summer in what was an historic occasion for the port, and called again today for a short stay.
Such is the size of the ship it had to be reversed up the Liffey as there is currently not enough room to manoeuvre a turn-around, although this will be remedied when the €230 million Alexandra Basin redevelopment is completed.
The vessel will leave Dublin Port at 7.45pm before stopping in Cobh on Wednesday morning. It arrived from the Scottish port of Greenock early this morning.
The MSC Splendida is the 11th longest cruise ship in the world, and is carrying some 4,600 crew and passengers.
It has more than a dozen bars and lounges along with four swimming pools, a spa, Turkish baths, squash courts and a Formula 1 simulator spread out over its 18 decks.
Dublin Port is set for a record year in 2016 with 113 cruise calls scheduled to be made, according to the port company's head of corporate services Pat Ward.
“We are delighted to welcome the MSC Splendida, the longest ship ever to visit Dublin Port, back to the city to mark the start of our 2016 cruise season,” he said.
“We are shaping up for a record year in cruise tourism, with some 113 cruise calls carrying over 180,000 visitors to the city scheduled for 2016.
“Dublin Port will also host the Cruise Europe Conference this year, the first time the conference is to be held in Dublin,” he said.
In another first, Dublin will also play host to Disney Magic, a member of the animation and childrens entertainment giant's own cruise line, later this month.