The Foynes and wider region received a summer tourism boost last Thursday when a luxury cruise liner on a nostalgic voyage docked at the busy shipping port.
The Prinsendam, a Holland America Line ship, which is on its final voyage after 17 years sailing around the world, anchored at 6.30am off Foynes Island for 12 hours, bringing hundreds of tourists into the West Limerick town and beyond.
Passengers were shuttled ashore shortly after arriving and taken to various locations in Limerick city and county, West Clare and Dingle. Approximately 100 passengers stayed local, making their way to Foynes village where they enjoyed the must-loved, award winning Foynes Flying Boat & Maritime Museum.
Shannon Foynes Port Company (SFPC) CEO, Pat Keating said they were delighted to facilitate the cruise ship in the busy port. “We’ve had cruise ships dock in Foynes before but this is the first time a cruise vessel anchored specifically off Foynes Island. Passengers ferried by tender to the pontoon at Foynes Yacht Club where they boarded coaches for various destinations or simply enjoyed Foynes itself on foot.
“It delivered a really nice tourism boost for the area, with the passengers visiting Limerick, Clare and Kerry. It was great to see the Flying Boat and Maritime Museum getting an extra boost. It’s a fantastic tourism attraction and deserves as much recognition as it can get and all those who visited it will pass on the good word about it.”
Mr Keating added that while cargo is the core activity, the port authority was delighted to welcome this business. “It was a busy morning and the cruise ship brought a great buzz to the area. From an operational perspective, all passengers were transferred safely and comfortably to and from the vessel.
“By anchoring at Foynes Island, cruise liners can easily be accommodated at Foynes as it gives us more capacity in addition to the actual docks itself. Hopefully we will get to welcome many more cruise vessels to Foynes.”
The Prinsendam is the first cruise liner welcomed to Foynes this year, with another scheduled to dock next month on July 5th. The M/S Prinsendam is the smallest ship in Holland America Line's fleet at 204 metres. The ship accommodates up to 835 guests and a crew of 470.
Nicknamed the ‘Elegant Explorer’, the Prinsendam is a hugely popular ship, much loved by regular cruise enthusiasts. Thanks to her small size and low height she can navigate interesting routes most other cruise liners cannot. Her most recent voyages have included the Amazon, the Caribbean, South America, Antarctica and now finally Europe where she will spend her last few months in the Holland America Line family.
The last voyages include the Mediterranean, Iberian Peninsula, British Isles, Ireland before making her final farewell on a 14-day expedition to the Norwegian North Cape.