Tomorrow Celebrity Cruises Eclipse arrives back in Dublin to complete her very 1st itinerary that has started and finished in Dublin. On this itinerary she took in Belfast, Reykjavik, Akureyri, Lerwick and Cork (today) before returning to Dublin over 10 glorious nights.
As you know we've been hailing this Celebrity home-porting season in Dublin for quite some time but why is it so important, how does it impact Ireland and why do we keep going on about it?
Profile of Cruise in Ireland
There is no doubt that simply having Celebrity here, albeit for just a few weeks has raised the profile of cruise in Ireland. In these 1st few days we've read about Eclipse in the newspapers, seen a huge number of reports online and mentions on social media, interviews and features on the radio including with Jo Rzymowska (Vice President & Managing Director Celebrity Cruises UK & Ireland & Asia); it's even appeared on the news!! If you happen to be in and around the quays in Dublin there's every chance that from O'Connell bridge down towards the 3Arena you'll begin to see these ships looming large in the distance. Just the fact that people seeing, hearing and are talking about cruise can only be good for the profile of cruise in Ireland and the cruise lines offering attractive itineraries in this country.
Impact on Local Economy
Even if you think you'll never step foot onboard ship you're benefiting from the growth of the industry. With over 150 cruise ships calling in to Dublin alone this year it is estimated that over 270,000 visitors will come into the capital city and surrounding areas given all the potential shore excursions that the team at Cruise Dublin & Co have developed. It's not just the 'Irish shops' such as House of Ireland or Kilkenny's that benefit though of course Carrolls do very well with the Irish paraphernalia (!!) it's also the spend in bars, cafes and restaurants. It's not just spend on food in Dublin; the passengers need feeding while on the ship too with our understanding that at least 15 containers worth of food was brought onto the ship prior to her inaugral cruise - all provided by Irish suppliers!
The organised tours boost visitor numbers at key tourist sites but also lead to employment for tour guides and a boost for coach companies. When we were down in the port last week there was a (all too long - Dublin Port take note!) queue for taxis shuttling passengers to and fro town as well as those strolling towards the Luas....
Speaking of transport, it is estimated that up to 90% of the passengers for Celebrity's homeporting season in Dublin will fly in with the remaining 10% local passengers. That's anything from 12,000 - 13,000 passengers flying into Dublin airport with many opting for hotel stays pre and post cruise again adding a huge amount to the local economy. In fact it's estimated that the homeporting cruises from Celebrity as well as those that start or end here from other cruise lines including Cruise & Maritime account for 20% of the total cruise income in Dublin.
It is estimated that as a result of all of the above cruise visitors in Dublin alone will add over €50 million into the local economy. In the South West region with Cobh also having a record year somewhere between €15 - €20m will be generated. Don't forget there are also calls into Galway, Killybegs, Waterford and Bantry each also contributing to the local economies!
This looks set to rise in coming years. This year will be another record year for cruise in Ireland and this now seems to be an annual trend. With further investment in the ports of Dublin and Cobh to get bigger and more ships into port combined with the increasing desire of cruise lines to get an Irish port into their itineraries given the popularity of such itineraries there is little doubt that cruise in Ireland is here to stay... and cruiser or not, it's a wonderful thing for us all!