- Around 40pc of visitors are from North America
- One in five are from Germany
- 15pc of cruise visitors are from Britain
- Most popular excursions include Titanic Belfast, Guinness Storehouse, Blarney Castle and Giant’s Causeway
Irish ports will have their busiest ever cruise ship season in 2017 with over 300 cruise ships scheduled to visit ports and harbours around the island, all-island industry body Cruise Ireland reports. It says the record year further extends the success of the past three years which has seen a 50pc increase in the number of cruise calls to Ireland.
Details of the record numbers were released at Seatrade Cruise Global, the world’s largest expo for the cruise industry which is taking place this week in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Cruise Ireland is made up from the island’s ports, shipping agents, excursion companies and visitor attractions, however, believes that there is scope for even greater significant increases in the number of cruise ship visits.
Joe O’Neill, current Chairman of Cruise Ireland and Belfast Harbour’s Commercial Director, said: “In the past 10 years the island has outperformed the European market place; recording average annual growth in cruise passenger numbers of 13pc against the European average across the same period of 9pc. Feedback from cruise lines on their experience of visiting Ireland is very positive and encouragingly the cruise industry is projecting that demand for Ireland as a cruise destination will continue with a 14pc growth forecast to 2020.”
Cruise ships calling at Irish ports range from the largest vessels operating in Europe such as the Royal Princess with over 5,000 passengers and crew to smaller expedition and luxury vessels with just 50 passengers.
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