The Borealis from Fred. Olsen was the final cruise ship to call at Port of Cork for the 2022 cruise season last week, capping off a successful restart for the port that saw over 115,000 passengers and 90 vessels visit, according to a press release.
The cruise industry is estimated to contribute €70 million to the national economy and €14 million to local economies such as Cork on an annual basis. This year, 90 cruise ships docked in the Port of Cork and Bantry Bay Port, returning to pre-pandemic levels, according to the port.
“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,” said Conor Mowlds, chief commercial officer, Port of Cork Company.
Some COVID precautions and practices were still in place this season, with many ships operating at 75 percent capacity. Prior to the pandemic, the Port of Cork had planned for 100 cruise ships per year, while in 2022 it received 12 first-time calls, bringing the total number of calls to 81.
“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,” added Johanna Murphy, president, Cobh and Harbour Chamber.
The docking of the MSC Virtuosa, which made its maiden call on September 29, was one of the highlights of the season, as it became the largest vessel to dock in Cork this year.