With one more cruise ship left to visit in December, the Port of Cork’s 2018 cruise season is drawing to a close. A total of 92 cruise ships will have visited in 2018, the most significant cruise season ever for the Port of Cork; and with over 157,000 passengers and 69,000 crews stepping ashore this summer, the local economy gained over €12 Million.
The increased cruise calls to Cork are indicative of the wider global cruise business which has seen huge growth. In 2018 it is estimated that 27.2 million people will have taken a cruise on over 450 cruise ships worldwide.
With the global cruise ship order book for new build contracts reaching 113 ships between now and 2027, Cork cruise business is set to grow further in the coming years and the Port of Cork is eager to attract these new ships.
Brendan Keating, Port of Cork Chief Executive said: "Even though our cruise business has grown 30% in the last year, the biggest beneficiary is the region with up to €12 million injected into the local economy over the summer cruise season. This is a significant boost which we are delighted to facilitate. In 2019 we anticipate over 100 cruise calls to Cork and realistically this is how we expect the cruise business pace to continue.."
In October, the Port of Cork visited all the major cruise lines calling to Cork and feedback from the companies was very positive in terms of their passenger experiences when visiting Cork. Currently all cruise operations are handled in Cobh, Ireland’s only dedicated cruise berth, however with the continued growth in calls, the Port of Cork is now keen to explore the option of a second cruise berth in Cobh.
In that regard, the Port of Cork last week launched their ‘Expressions of Interest’ to the market inviting submissions from potential interested parties to develop and/or operate a new cruise berth at Lynch’s Quay Cobh.
Conor Mowlds, Port of Cork Chief Commercial Officer said: "By launching the Expressions of Interest we will see if there is an appetite in the market to develop a new cruise berth in Cobh. From the Port’s perspective, we know this business is growing and we want to have every possible option ready to capitalise on this business."