Dún Laoghaire welcomes another cruise ship
Queen Elizabeth is one of 14 cruise ships expected to visit the port this summer
Moored outside the harbour because of her impressive size, the 12-deck ship shimmered in the blazing sunlight this morning as a flotilla of sail boats bore the curious out for a look. At least two helicopters and a light aircraft flew overhead and even the Garda helicopter could be seen flying along the coast shortly before midday.
The Queen Elizabeth with its eight restaurants, two theatres, three swimming pools, libraries, bars, cafés, and a casino began ferrying visitors ashore before 10am and by noon the streets around the harbour were busy with tourists from as far afield as Tokyo, Montreal and Milton Keynes.
On the East Pier Dublin Bay Cruises was doing brisk business but Captain Eddie Keane said the cruise had been booked well in advance. This afternoon’s sailing to and from Howth via Dalkey Island was likely to be the most busy with sightseers, he said.
Over by the former coal harbour near the west pier where passengers were disembarking Liz and Mike Halliwell from Milton Keynes said they were looking forward to seeing Ireland. Mike had been here twice, in the 1940s and 1950s and was eager to see the changes. For Liz who said the couple had been on “quite a few” cruises, it was the first time to visit Ireland. They paid £900 for their 10-day trip, a special price because they are frequent cruisers, they said. The price includes all meals and is therefore not expensive, they explained.
Hiroshi Shinagawa and his wife Kikuko said were awaiting a ferry back to the Queen Elizabeth at about noon. “We had a few hours” said Hiroshi looking at his watch. “Her uncle was on the Titanic. He was the only Japanese passenger and he survived” said Hiroshi as his wife nodded. The two had been to Cobh to the Titanic museum and also visited Ashford Castle which they had enjoyed.
Also returning was Ann and Derek Ball from Lincolnshire who were travelling with children and grandchildren in a party of eight. “ We didn’t spend anything, we didn’t even sit down, we didn’t bring any euros” said Ann who looked at Derek and remarked that she had wanted to try an Irish Coffee.
Dun Laoghaire Harbour Company which has attracted some 14 cruise ships to the port this summer said the visit of Queen Elizabeth’s sister ship the Queen Mary 2 generated a spend of about €3m for the area.
Dun Laoghaire was the fifth port of call for the Queen Elizabeth since it set sail from Southampton a week ago on a 10-day cruise of Britain and Ireland. It is due to leave tonight for Guernsey in the Channel Islands.