First cruise ship of 2015 docks in Derry

FIRST CRUISE SHIP. . . .The first Cruiseship of 2015, the Ocean Nova, arrived in the North-West today (Tuesday) at Lisahally Docks. The ship, carrying around 80 passengers, mostly ornithologists, is the first of eleven expected over the course of the year. DER1915MC023

FIRST CRUISE SHIP. . . .The first Cruiseship of 2015, the Ocean Nova, arrived in the North-West today (Tuesday) at Lisahally Docks. The ship, carrying around 80 passengers, mostly ornithologists, is the first of eleven expected over the course of the year. DER1915MC023

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The first of a fleet of cruise ships due to dock in Derry this year has arrived at Lisahally this morning.

The Ocean Nova was due in at Lisahally this morning after a last minute change to its itinerary.

Visit Derry General Manager Odhran Dunne.  (2701JB60)

Visit Derry General Manager Odhran Dunne. (2701JB60)

The relatively small cruise ship has around 80 bird watchers onboard and is described as a specialist cruise for those with an interest in ornithology.

It is understood to have been making its way along the coats of Ireland and Britain and Derry was a last minute addition to the itinerary, because of the richness and diversity of bird life on the Foyle estuary and surrounding areas.

Odhran Dunne, general manager with Visit Derry, revealed that 10 other much larger cruise ships are already booked to arrive here during the remainder of 2015.

Overall, around 12,000 cruise ship passengers will disembark at Greencastle, Lisahally and Meadowbank in Derry during 2015.

A further 10 cruise liners have also already been booked for 2016 as well.

Mr Dunne said: “We have been working hard within the cruise market to increase the number of visiting cruise ships and we are really happy with the numbers coming through in 2015.

“We are working with Foyle Port, the Council and Loughs Agency to target cruise ships and it has worked really well for us.

“We are expecting 12,00 passengers this year. It is a very niche market and we would expect to generate over £800,000 this year.”

Once they arrive, he added, passengers are greeted and have the option of taking on several local tours and trips across Derry, Inishowen, Glenveagh National Park and Castle, Giants Causeway, the Sperrins.

Mr Dunne said the next ship was due in June, while the largest vessel to visit this year will be the Crystal Serenity on August 3.