Updated: May 16
Foyle Port has announced it has welcomed its first cruise ship of 2023 on the 12th of May. The Port, which is the gateway to the North West of Ireland, welcomed Seabourn Ovation as she visited Lough Foyle. This marks the start of the 2023 cruise season when the port will welcome more than double the cruise ships compared to last year.
The luxurious 210m Ovation has capacity of 600 guests and 450 crew members. Guests onboard the Ovation explored the North West as part of a 14-day round trip from Dover, England.
Foyle Port’s Chief Executive, Brian McGrath said, “We are thrilled to begin our 2023 cruise season with the welcome arrival of the Seabourn Ovation. We are delighted to have doubled our cruise calls this year with 15 ships and a total of 10,600 passengers from now until October. It’s fantastic to see the demand in leisure vessels returning following what has been a very challenging time for the industry and we look forward to welcoming international visitors to our beautiful North West shores.”
The port will receive maiden calls from eight ships this year, including the newly refurbished Renaissance making her inaugural voyage under French cruise company, Compagnie Française de Croisières.
Luxury cruise line Explora Journeys is set to launch a brand-new cruise ship, Explora I, on 17th July 2023 and will visit Foyle Port in its second ever week of cruising.
Other prestigious cruise lines scheduled to call at the port include Azamara Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, Crystal Cruises and Silversea Cruises.
The port is located in Derry-Londonderry which is Ireland’s only completely intact historic Walled City, home to award-winning museums and some of the greatest outdoor festivals in the world. Foyle Port also provides a starting point for some of Ireland’s and Northern Ireland’s most magnificent areas of outstanding natural beauty including County Donegal’s Wild Atlantic Way and County Antrim’s Causeway Coastal Route.
Visit Derry’s Chief Executive, Odhran Dunne said, “With the number of cruise calls doubling this year, it is encouraging to see the cruise market return strongly as the global tourism industry continues to rebound. The Walled City continues to draw visitors from across the world thanks to the quality of our tourism offering, which is going from strength to strength. There is no doubt, cruise ships represent an important part of the visitor market to the city and region, bringing thousands of additional visitors to enjoy a range of bespoke tours across the North West or enjoy the city at their leisure. Visit Derry looks forward to working in partnership with Foyle Port to provide a warm welcome and visitor information shoreside to all the cruise passengers and crew arriving this season.”
Niamh McCarthy, Managing Director of Excursions Ireland added, “We are always so honoured and excited to be a part of the operations in this wonderful port in one of the most spectacular regions on our beautiful island. As the local tour operator, we have come a long way since the 1990’s when the first of the ships called in this region. Through the wonderful work of the port authority and tourist information centre this area has become a firm favourite for visiting overseas cruise lines. We look forward to showing these guests all the gems that the North West of Ireland has on offer through the various shore excursions we provide to the cruise lines. We are delighted to kick start with the stunning Seabourn Ovation when she arrives on the 12th May and look forward to another successful season.”