Lee Travel has announced an exclusive agreement with Royal Caribbean International to work together to invite holidaymakers to board Europe’s largest cruise ship, Independence of the Seas, for cruises direct from Ireland for the very first time.
The deal will enable 200 guests that book with Lee Travel to board the ship at Ireland’s only dedicated cruise berth in Cobh, Co Cork and join the ship’s other guests for a choice of two 12-day Norwegian cruises, on either 3rd June or 9th September 2013.
The Norwegian cruises will take in scenic fjords, narrow glacial inlets, castles, the Norwegian countryside and the capital city of Oslo. Guests will be among the first to enjoy all-new features recently added to Independence of the Seas as part of a fleetwide US$300 million makeover programme. New restaurants, bars, outdoor movie screens, shipwide wi-fi and a new nursery will join the ship’s many attractions that include three pools, six whirlpools, eight restaurants, a spa and fitness centre, as well as innovative and family-friendly features including a rock climbing wall, a Flowrider surf simulator, a H2O waterpark, ice skating rink and 1,320-seater theatre and the Adventure Ocean kids and teen clubs.
Declan O’Connell, Managing Director of Lee Travel, said: “We are all very excited in Lee Travel to be the first Irish company to have secured the agreement with Royal Caribbean International to embark passengers in Cobh. There is a demand for such a service from Cork and we are confident that these cruises will be very popular and that Royal Caribbean will sail more ships out of Cobh for many years to come.
“Our dedicated cruise team, who have almost 40 years’ experience, are available to speak about everything these cruises have to offer to existing and new cruise fans to ensure it truly is a memorable holiday.”
Lorraine Quinn, Head of Sales Ireland, Royal Caribbean International, said: “We are delighted to partner with Lee Travel to launch Royal Caribbean International’s first ever cruise from Ireland. Guests can look forward to the characteristic welcome and service, excellent dining and innovative family-friendly facilities with a choice of accommodation options that have kept Irish guests coming back time and again.”
Captain Michael McCarthy, Commercial Manager, Port of Cork, added: “We are looking forward to working with Royal Caribbean International and Lee Travel on this new concept of ‘inter-porting’. Royal Caribbean have been a long time partner here in the port and are increasing their number of calls from three in 2012 to 12 in 2013. We regularly meet with the cruise lines on a one-to-one basis to show them the huge diversity of shore excursions that we can offer and to position Cork as a gateway for the south of Ireland. Our current berth in Cobh can take the largest vessels with regular calls from RCCL vessels ‘Independence of the Seas’ and ‘Celebrity Eclipse’.”
The Norwegian Fjords Cruise is exclusive to Lee Travel, with prices from €1,699pp (based on two adults sharing an inside stateroom). The fly/cruise price includes flights back to Dublin/Cork with transfers and checked baggage allowance; a 12-night cruise departing from Cobh on 3rd June or 9th September 2013 and calling at Olden, Norway; Alesund, Norway; Flam, Stavanger, Kristiansand, and Oslo in Norway and Bruges (Zeebrugge), Belgium, before ending in Southampton, England; meals and entertainment onboard and all relevant cruise taxes/fees.