Galway is set for a major tourism boost the Summer when more than 8,000 passengers and crew arrive at Galway Port on seven separate cruise ships.
While the first ship is due in this morning (Friday) at around 11 o’clock with 800 passengers and crew, the biggest of the ships – the Oriana, due in at the end of August – will hold more than 1,900 passengers alone.
And next year’s schedule is even busier, with almost 12,300 passengers and crew due to dock in Galway.
Harbour Master, Captain Brian Sheridan told the Galway City Tribune that the arrival of the cruise ships will be a huge boost for the economy of the city, and for Connemara.
“Never underestimate the impact these people will have on Galway. There are full-day and half-day excursions. Some will go for guided walking tours around the city, have something to eat and drink and do some shopping.
“Others will go to Kylemore Abbey and to Cnoc Suain in Spiddal, where they’ll go into a cottage, learn how to make brown bread, play a penny whistle, experience Irish dancing, then be bussed back to the city and spend the rest of the day shopping.
“Others will go to the Cliffs of Moher and some will hire executive cars and go to Ashford for lunch,” said Capt Sheridan.
Today, Galway’s cruise season begins, with the arrival of Classic International’s ‘Astoria’ – a former ocean liner – weighing more than 16,100 tons and carrying 556 passengers and 240 crew.
Ten days later, on May 29, the 11,000-ton ‘Le Boreal’ from French company Ponant, will dock here with 264 passengers and 140 passengers on board.
On June 11, the ‘Prinsendam’ from Holland-America Line, will stop off in Galway for its fifth year in a row, weighing almost 38,000 tons and carrying 740 passengers and 460 crew.