Warrenpoint Welcomes its Largest Ever Cruise Ship into Port

Peter Bayne

Reporter:

Peter Bayne

Email:

peter.bayne@newrydemocrat.com

Saturday 6 August 2022 8:30

Warrenpoint Port welcomed the Azamara Pursuit, the second of three cruise ships to dock at the County Down port this summer on Friday morning.

At 180m in length, the Azamara is the largest ever cruise ship to dock in Warrenpoint. The ship has a capacity of over 700 passengers and more than 400 crew; and the local community were out in force to welcome them.

The Azamara Pursuit, while on its first visit to Warrenpoint, has a connection with the locality. Back in 2018 it was the largest ship of its kind in many years, to have a refit in Belfast; carried out by Newry headquartered outfitting firm MJM Marine.

At that time the Azamara brand was owned by Royal Caribbean and was subsequently acquired in 2021 by Sycamore Partners, a private equity firm based in New York.

Chairman of Warrenpoint Port, Dr Gerard O Hare CBE DL said, “We are delighted to have welcomed Captain Toledo, his crew, and passengers to Warrenpoint today for the second of our three cruise ship visits to the Port this summer.

“Cruise ships are not a significant part of the Port business model, but it is important from a tourism perspective for the area, that we welcome a small number of these vessels to the Port each year. Many of the passengers have chosen to explore the local area and we know they will have received a warm welcome. Many local people also come out to see the ships, which helps boost business in the town.”

These cruise ships calls are organised and managed by local company Armagh Logistics and facilitated by Hamilton Shipping in Belfast. Brothers John McParland of Armagh Logistics, Leo McParland of Hamilton Shipping and their father Noel have a long association of working with the Port. They continue to work to promote Warrenpoint and the Port to their global client base.

Councillor Micheal Savage, Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down Council said “I am delighted to welcome the Azamara Pursuit on its first visit to Warrenpoint, which is the second cruise ship out of three to come to the Visit Mourne destination. Following two challenging years for the tourism industry, it is great to see the return of cruise ships to the destination and for the guests to experience local attractions and experiences. These cruise ships are a welcomed economic boost to the local tourism industry.”

As is customary for a first visit to a Port a plaque presentation ceremony took place dockside with plaques presented to the Captain from the Port; Newry, Mourne and Down District Council; and Hamilton Shipping. The ceremony was accompanied by dancing from Brennan Miskelly McCormick School of Irish Dance.

The ship departed at 7.30pm with people lining the shore on both sides of the Lough to wave it off. The final cruise call of the summer will be on Thursday 18th August with a visit from the World Voyager.

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