PRESS RELEASE – Embargoed to 0001 BST on Thursday 14th May 2015.
Another ‘Royal’ arrival… Royal Princess docks in Belfast for another busy cruise ship season
Belfast welcomes royal visitor and international passengers and crew as cruise season gets under way
Belfast today (Thursday 14th May 2015) welcomed the return of Princess Cruises’ ‘Royal Princess’.
Carrying over 5,000 passengers and crew – many of whom will embark on a variety of shore excursions across Northern Ireland – its visit marks the official start of another bumper cruise tourism season for the city.
The £470 million vessel, which was launched by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, in 2013, is a flagship of Princess Cruises’ fleet and confirms the city’s increasing popularity as a cruise destination.
As the largest vessel scheduled to dock in Belfast Harbour this year, the Royal Princess signals a shift towards much larger cruise vessels arriving in Belfast. This year, more than 115,000 passengers and crew will arrive from across North America, Europe and around the world, supporting Belfast and Northern Ireland’s world-class visitor attractions and growing tourism economy.
The 1,083ft long Royal Princess, owned by California-based Princess Cruises, carries around 3,560 passengers and 1,500 crew.
Roy Adair, Chief Executive at Belfast Harbour, said:
“With over 5,000 passengers and crew on board, the Royal Princess is one of the largest cruise ships operating in Northern Europe and we are delighted to have worked closely with Princess Cruises over the years to make sure that Belfast is now firmly fixed on their “must see” list of cities. Princess will make 10 visits this year and will be joined by other large ships such as Queen Elizabeth and Celebrity Silhouette.
“Cruise ships are now a regular and familiar sight in Belfast across the summer months. We are particularly pleased that we have extended the season yet again this year, with first arrivals now docking at Belfast Harbour as early as March and running right through toNovember.”
Gerry Lennon, Chief Executive, Visit Belfast, said:
“The success of Cruise Belfast is vitally important to our growing tourism economy as it brings significant numbers of first time visitors to not only Belfast but the wider Northern Ireland region. The arrival of a cruise ship, particularly those the size of the Royal Princess, provides a substantial boost to business for our visitor attractions, tour operators, transport and hospitality providers.
“Belfast and Northern Ireland offers a wealth of unique itinerary ideas for international cruise operators looking for memorable experiences for their customers. We’re delighted to continue our successful partnership with Belfast Harbour in promoting the region as port of call for international cruise ships.”
Princess Cruises is a global cruise and tour company that takes one million-plus passengers each year to more than 300 destinations on six continents on its fleet of 18 ships.
Along with the Royal Princess, which is scheduled to visit Belfast 10 times this year, this year’s cruise schedule features liners from some of the largest cruise operators in the world including Celebrity, Cunard, Crystal, Silversea, Fred Olsen and Saga.
Cruise Belfast is the marketing partnership between Visit Belfast and Belfast Harbour – aimed at promotingBelfast as a primary port of call for visiting cruise ships.
Visit Belfast is Belfast City Region’s official destination marketing and visitor-servicing organisation. Its main funders are Belfast City Council, Northern Ireland Tourist Board, more than 560 private sector members, and key strategic partners Diageo, Translink and Value Cabs.
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Notes to Editors:
For more information on Cruise Belfast and to view an update schedule of vessels: http://www.cruise-belfast.co.uk/
The Royal Princess:
Its 19 decks stand 217ft high – taller than Tower Bridge – and longer than four Obel buildings lined end to end, weighs in at 141,000 tonnes. The ship features a glass-bottomed walkway that extends 28ft from the side of the vessel, an open-air cinema, croquet lawn and dancing fountains.
Visit Belfast is Belfast City Region’s official destination marketing and visitor-servicing organisation. Its main funders are Belfast City Council, Tourism Northern Ireland, its 560 private sector members, and key strategic partners Translink, Diageo Northern Ireland and Value Cabs.
For more information, log on to www.visit-belfast.com
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