Northern Ireland Port Enjoys Busy Cruise Season Launch

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The cruise-tourism season at Foyle Port, on Northern Ireland’s north coast, got off to a lively start with the May 14, 2024 arrival of Seabourn Cruise’s Seabourn Ovation. The 600-guest luxury ship was the first of three to call at Foyle Port during the first week of the season.

Seabourn Ovation was at the tail-end of a 22-day voyage from Lisbon, Portugal, to Dover, England, with two more calls — at Saint-Malo and Cherbourg, France — remaining on her itinerary. Also calling this week at Foyle Port are Saga Cruises’ 100-guest Spirit of Adventure on May 16, 2024, and Quark Expeditions’ 172-guest World Explorer on May 19, 2024.

All told, port officials expect about 10,000 cruise arrivals during the season, which runs until September.

It’s a pleasure to welcome Seabourn Ovation to Lough Foyle once again following her maiden visit last May. We are seeing return calls from 92% of the cruise lines this year – we believe this speaks volumes to the positive experience received on previous visits and is a real testament to the destination,said Bill McCann, harbor master and operations director at Foyle Port.

World Explorer at Foyle Port
World Explorer at Foyle Port

McCann added that 2023 was a record year for the port, as it welcomed over 16,000 guests and crew, providing a direct spend of over €1 million into the local economy, including at restaurants, shops, transportation companies, and other vendors. 

“We eagerly anticipate further growth allowing for more international tourists to experience first-hand what a beautiful part of the world this is,added McCann.

Other notable ships scheduled to visit Foyle Port this season include Azamara’s Azamara Onward and Azamara Quest,  Silversea Cruises’ Silver Spirit, Hebridean Island Cruises’ Hebridean Princess, and Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Dawn.

Maiden calls include Villa Vie Odyssey, the new world cruise brand operated by Villa Vie Residences, which is due to enter service in late May 2024.

The port consists of three berthing areas: Greencastle & Magilligan, a deep water tender port that accommodates ships up to 1,066 feet; Lisahally Terminal, which can handle ships up to 656 feet; and Fort George, for smaller ships up to 328 feet long.

Foyle Port Region Offers Stunning Natural Attractions

Foyle Port is located in Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland’s second-largest city, and is Ireland’s only walled city. Situated about 70 miles northwest of Belfast, the port sits on an estuary of the Foyle River on Northern Ireland’s Causeway Coastal Route and is considered the gateway to the North West of Ireland. 

Attractions feature the UNESCO World Heritage Site Giant’s Causeway, castle ruins in the villages of Dunluce and Dunseverick, the County Donegal section of the Wild Atlantic Way, Glenveagh National Park, and the Inishowen Peninsula.

Norwegian Star at Foyle Port
Norwegian Star at Foyle Port

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Adventure-seekers can cross the famous Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge and hike along the cliff edge on the coastal path, while birdwatchers and nature lovers can look for seabirds and marine life.

The region’s wealth of natural attractions make it a sought-after destination, and local excursion companies cater to visitors looking to for exploration opportunities.

The variety of tours we offer from this region is second to none and the year on year feedback is phenomenal. We are looking forward to another busy 2024 season and also look forward to working alongside all at Foyle Port in the future to further promote and showcase this region and all it has to offer,said Niamh McCarthy, managing director of Excursions Ireland.

The cosmopolitan city of Derry offers many attractions, such as museums, cathedrals, and historic architecture, and is a short shuttle ride from the port. The destination is known for its outdoor festivals, including the popular Foyle Maritime Festival, set for June 27-30, 2024, and featuring tall ships, historic vessels, live music, food, and more.

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