Two cruise ships in Cork Harbour pre-pandemic.

Cruises to return to Cork next month

15 April is set to be a Good Friday for Cobh as it will see the first cruise ship in over two years dock at Ireland’s only dedicated cruise berth.

The Borealis cruise ship will dock in Cobh from the UK on Good Friday, 15 April after Ireland agreed to the return of cruise ships last Friday.

The Port of Cork Company (PoCC) and Cruise Ireland have welcomed the long-awaited return to cruise ships following a two-year pause as a result of the pandemic.

The MV Viking Venus was the first ship to return after two years when it docked in Dún Laoghaire Harbour on 29 March.

The cruise liner industry is estimated to contribute €70m to the national economy and on average €14m per year to local economies such as Cork which pre-Covid had typically welcomed 100 cruise ships per year.

Conor Mowlds, Chief Commercial Officer with Port of Cork Company and Chairperson of Cruise Ireland was delighted with the news.

The “announcement follows weeks and months of intense collaboration with stakeholders such as the Department of Transport and the HSE to ensure we have robust protocols in place to protect and ensure confidence for not only passengers but our receiving harbour communities,” Mr Mowlds stated.

“We are looking forward very much to the return of cruise activities, to rebuilding and growing the cruise line sector, which has such a crucial role to play for the country’s tourism and the hospitality industries.”

Cruise Ireland is an all-island body whose membership includes all of the sector’s key players, its primary focus is to market the island of Ireland as a premier cruise ship destination.

The Port of Cork Company hopes to welcome a return to almost pre-pandemic levels of cruise calls with approximately 90 cruise ships scheduled between April and November 2022.

Johanna Murphy, president of Cobh and Harbour Chamber said: “We’ve been waiting a long time for this announcement which is hugely significant for the positive impact it will have on local tourism. We’re looking forward to once again welcoming cruise passengers back to Cobh, which has been such a hugely important part of our town’s heritage for hundreds of years.”