Celebrity Cruises has become the first major cruise line to confirm Dublin Port as a home port when a Solstice-class ship will call the city home for five sailings from late April to end June 2018. The northern Europe itineraries will be announced in two weeks’ time and go on sale from 1st December 2016.
Jo Rzymowska, Managing Director, Celebrity Cruises UK and Ireland, when hosting 40 agents and media at L’Ecrivain restaurant in Dublin yesterday, said: “We expect over 14,000 people will avail of these ex-Dublin itineraries and that 50-60% of them will be from North America – but I would love it if, with the support of Irish agents, 60% could come from Ireland! If these sailings are strongly supported we would like to extend the ex-Dublin season in 2019.
“Celebrity Cruises has enjoyed significant support from our travel agent partners and guests throughout Ireland for many years. Now we are saying thank you by basing one of the flagships of our fleet in Dublin for a mini season during early summer 2018. We know that our guests from around the world, and in Ireland, will love the warm welcome they receive when starting a holiday in Dublin.
“Calling Dublin home in 2018 is a major development to our European deployment. We couldn’t be more excited. Thank you to Dublin Port for their support.”
Dublin Port’s existing Pier 33 will be used for the 2,800+ guest Solstice Class ship, as the new East Link Bridge berths under the €250 million development plan will not be ready until 2021. However, talks are underway on alternatives to using the existing cruise terminal building – with Irish Ferries on using its terminal and with Dublin Airport Authority on a possible cruise check-in facility at the airport.
Pat Ward, Head of Corporate Services, Dublin Port, said: “It has been a clear ambition of Dublin Port to attract a cruise line to offer our great city as a homeport. Today, that ambition is realised and Celebrity Cruises will be an important step-change in our history. The opportunities that this new investment will bring are extensive. We look forward to maximising this new platform for growth and welcoming yet more cruise ships and holidaymakers to Dublin for the first time.
“Air connectivity from North America, Europe and the Middle East into Dublin Airport is outstanding and Dublin Port aims to compete strongly with Southampton.”