Exclusive: Port of Dublin to become hub for world’s largest cruise ships

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Work has started on a major expansion that will allow the port to handle bigger ships, multiple calls and home-porting – it is due for completion in 2020


The Port of Dublin is planning a major expansion to allow it to handle bigger ships, as well as multiple calls and home-porting, the company behind the facility has revealed.

Speaking exclusively to Cruise Adviser, Pat Ward, head of corporate services at the Dublin Port Company, said: “Dublin Port aims to become a turnaround hub for the world’s largest cruise ships.”

During the exchange of plaques ceremony held on the bridge of Celebrity Eclipse he added: “It is essential that Dublin Port Company continues to facilitate passenger demand so the city remains the port of choice for cruise. We are creating a multi-purpose building that will offer all the services of a cruise terminal.”

Celebrity Eclipse is among an increasing number of longer cruise ships that are pushing the boundaries of the port’s operational limits. Ships in excess of 300m cannot turn within Dublin Port and are therefore reversed ‘stern first’ up the River Liffey. This complex manoeuvre will no longer be necessary once Dublin Port’s Alexandra Basin Redevelopment (ABR) project is complete. Larger, longer ships will then be able to routinely call at the port and turn within the expanded Alexandra Basin West and berth further upriver, closer to the city at the Tom Clarke Bridge. The planned redevelopment is expected to result in an extra 600,000 tourists for the city annually, three times current visitor levels.

The depth of the ship channel will be increased to minus 10 ‘chart datum’ (the deep level of water displayed on a nautical chart). In addition, the implementation of the ABR Project will provide two 360m and one 220m berth for ships even larger than Celebrity Eclipse. It is due to be completed in 2020.

The Dublin Port Company has seen growth from approximately 30,000 cruise passengers in 2003, to 160,000 passengers in 2016. It is expecting approximately 200,000 this year.

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