The MS Borealis was the last cruise liner to dock this season in Cork on Tuesday. Photo: Gerard McCarthy Photography

Cruise season comes to an end

90 cruise ships docked in the Port of Cork and Bantry Bay Port this year, welcoming over 115,000 passengers to Cork, new figures have shown.

The Port of Cork revealed the figures as the cruise season came to an end on Tuesday with the final cruise vessel, the MS Borealis.

The cruise liner industry is estimated to contribute €70 million to the national economy and on average €14 million per year to local economies such as Cork, said the Port of Cork.

This season, some Covid-19 precautions and procedures remained in place, with many ships operating at 75% capacity. The Port of Cork had planned 100 cruise ships per year pre-Covid.

Speaking at the final call of the season, Conor Mowlds, Chief Commercial Officer at the Port of Cork Company said: “The cruise sector plays a crucial role in the country’s tourism and hospitality industries and we were delighted to see it return this year to a great degree of success. We made many strides in rebuilding the sector to pre-pandemic levels and the outlook for 2023 is even more positive - with in excess of 100 vessels scheduled to call to the Port of Cork so far.”

A highlight of the season was the MSC Virtuosa, one of the largest cruise ships in the world, which made its maiden call on 29 September. Spanning 331 metres in length and weighing 181,541 tonnes the MSC Virtuosa was the largest vessel to dock in Cork this year and has the capacity to carry 6,300 passengers and 1,700 crew on board.

Johanna Murphy, President of Cobh and Harbour Chamber said: “It has been a wonderful boost to the town of Cobh and the local harbour community to welcome the return of cruise liners this season. The atmosphere in the town when a ship is in is just electric - not only from the influx of passengers on board visiting Cobh, but from the many people who visit from all over the country to see these ships up close. It has been especially beneficial for Cobh tourism and trade.”