The first cruise ship to dock at Killybegs harbour since September 2019 is due this afternoon with the local tourist industry anticipating a bumper season after taking a massive hit from Covid-19.
During 2020 and 2021, 38 cruise ship bookings were cancelled. As the port has not seen tourists visiting on cruises since before the pandemic, it's a big day for everyone in Killybegs and indeed the county in general and it marks another step on the return to normal times.
The German cruise liner MV AIDAaura, with almost 800 passengers and 400 crew, is due at around 2pm. Many of the passengers will go on excursions around south Donegal as part of their visit.
It will be the first of 22 ships booked so far between May and September, making this the busiest cruise season ever for Killybegs.
These ships include regular visitors National Geographic Explorer and the recently built 237 metres Spirit of Adventure.
The longest ship to visit this year will be the Arcadia on July 22. At 285 metres, that’s almost the length of three soccer pitches.
In fact, the total length of all ships booked is over 2.5 miles or 4km long.
A first this year is the visit of the residential ship The World which will call early in September, unlike other cruise ships the passengers own the apartments on board and live on or join the ship wherever it may be during the year.
The return of the ships will provide a welcome boost to many in the tourism and commercial sectors attempting to regain their footing after the pandemic.
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