02ND July 2014 Photo by William Cherry/Presseye
All aboard: Lord Mayor of Belfast, Cllr Nichola Mallon, is joined by Joe OÕNeill, Belfast Harbour and Rachael McGuickin, Visit Belfast, to officially welcome the Ruby Princess which docked in Belfast today. Ruby Princess is making its 3rd visit from a total of 8 calls the ship will make to Belfast in 2014. Pictured receiving a welcome plaque is the ship’s Captain, Karl Austin.
Ruby Princess is one of 61 tourist-packed vessels arriving in Belfast this year which will see almost 110,000 passengers and crew arrive in the city by October thanks to Cruise Belfast Ð the dedicated marketing partnership between Visit Belfast and Belfast Harbour.
On welcoming Ruby Princess, the Lord Mayor reflected on the cityÕs success in attracting the lucrative cruise business:
ÒCruise tourism is now an integral part of BelfastÕs tourism mix and an impressive, visible measure of the cityÕs tourism success story, generating millions of pounds for the local and wider economy, and the fastest growing cruise port in Ireland over the last decade. Seeing the sheer numbers of passengers streaming off the ship to take the numerous excursions on offer, whether itÕs to Titanic Belfast, the Causeway Coast and Glens, Ards Peninsula or simply jumping on to the shuttle-buses to discover the cityÕs many visitor attractions, undoubtedly shows the positive value of putting Belfast in the cruise itineraries. I have no doubt these visitors will leave these shores having enjoyed their day here and become advocates for Belfast and Northern Ireland.Ò
Now the island-of-IrelandÕs second busiest port, Belfast now competes above other popular UK port cities such as Liverpool and Glasgow in the international market place for cruise business.
Operated by one of the largest cruise companies in the world, Princess Cruises, the Ruby Princess is a Ôgrand-classÕ, luxury ship which enjoys regular tours of Northern Europe and the Caribbean. With a capacity of more than 4,200 passengers and crew, the vessel has 19 decks, more than 1,500 guest cabins, four swimming pools and seven whirlpool spas.