Belfast Port to boost Northern Ireland Tourism

Belfast, Ireland is full of possibilities for those on a cruise holiday. Even Trip Advisor has rated it as “one of the UK’s top destinations” in 2013. As the economic outlook is bleak for many areas within the EU, predictions for Northern Ireland are more than positive.

A 25% increase in revenue for Northern Ireland will be generated by cruise tourism within the next three years. Belfast is doing everything possible for the mass invasion that will bolster the job market and anticipates that their £7m investment to build the first cruise facility in NI will pay off within a year. With sixty ships scheduled to make Belfast a port of call, officials claim that £18m will reach the local economy.

Welcome to Belfast

This area is perfect for both the casual and the adventurous traveller. This certainly is a great getaway from the stereotypical beach setting of other ports of call.

The city is compact and Belfast’s Victorian architecture is among the finest in Europe. With easy access to most tourist locations, the city is broken down into four neighbourhoods: Cathedral Quarter, the Queen’s Quarter, Gaeltacht and the Titanic Quarter. Finding all the points of interests is a snap for any cruise passenger.

Start your cruise holiday off on the right foot in Belfast by visiting its rich maritime heritage. One ship dominates in this city, the RMS Titanic, even though its lineage is tragic. The famed and yet doomed liner made its way from Belfast in 1912 and has since captured the public’s imagination.

The Titanic phenomenon can be relieved by the museum, Titanic Belfast. It recounts not only the tale of the Titanic with an accurate interior of what the ship looked like but highlights the full story of Belfast’s long ship building career. The SS Nomadic, the last White Star Line ship is permanently docked here.

That’s not the only thing to see in Belfast though.

The city’s oldest quarter centres on St. Anne’s Cathedral which has been under construction since the Victorian age. It was finalised with the installation of the Spire of Hope in 2007.

St Annes Cathedral

They say that some of the greatest writers derive from Ireland. Writer’s Square is dedicated to them and is directly across from the cathedral. The highlight is the embedded quotes plastered into the sidewalk of famous Irish authors and playwrights.

The Albert Memorial Clock is Belfast’s version to that of the Leaning Tower of Pisa in Italy. Historic pubs for a stout, such as Kelly’s Cellars rates as one of the oldest along the cobble streets.

Albert Memorial Clock

The centrepiece in Queen’s Quarter of Belfast is Queen’s University. This is a Tudor-styled university allows self-guided tours of the college. Just enter at its ‘Welcome Centre’ to begin your discovery. Notable alumni include Poet Seamus Heaney and former Irish President Mary McAleese. Sir Charles Lanyon designed the university which is most noted for its Medieval-style Great Hall.

Steps away from the campus, a delightful attraction for those who dabble in horticulture is the Botanic Gardens, known for its famous Palm House. This stunning Victorian structure is one of Belfast’s most beloved. During summer, the Gardens host a wide variety of outdoor concerts and other events.

Botanic Gardens

Rated the title of “Best UK Tourist Attraction” for its wall murals by London’s Independent newspaper; obtain that true Northern Irish flavour of language and culture in the Gaeltacht Quarter.

Other fun activities to do in Belfast include the W5 Interactive Discovery Museum and Belfast Zoo, as well as the Ulster Art and History Museum. For outdoor fun, there’s always the Dundonald International Ice Bowl or the Bridges Urban Sports Park.

Have you discovered the wonders of Northern Ireland and Belfast before?

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Would YOU Sail On The Titanic II?

Controversial plans have been in place since early 2012 to create a replica of the ill-fated Titanic cruise liner. The proposed launch date of the Titanic II is in 2016 – 104 years after the original voyage. The Titanic II will also set sail from Southampton to New York in the same year, completing the voyage that the tragic ship was unable to do.

titanic memorial

It is rumoured that after the Titanic II sails from Southampton to New York, she will then sail to Dubai and becoming a floating hotel and museum for people to enjoy.

It has been said that tickets to sail on the Titanic II will be astronomically expensive once they go on sale. Figures of more than $1 million have been quoted by some sources. This obviously very much limits the number of people who will be able to sail on the Titanic II, even if they wanted to. 

Understandably, there has been a lot of criticism surrounding the proposed plans. Many people have criticised the Titanic II as being insensitive to the memory of the people who died after the liner struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage.

There is also a school of thought that feels that it would be tempting fate to sail the same journey on a replica ship, although obviously the Titanic II will be far better equipped with safety features to ensure nothing like that would occur.

Titanic II will be designed as similarly in appearance both inside and out as the original Titanic ship. Although, of course there will be some changes to the design to incorporate todays safety regulations.

This will include a welded hull as opposed to a riveted hull, stabilisers, an extra safety deck housing modern lifeboats, a higher bridge and the ship will overall be taller and heavier than the original. The now redundant large funnels on the original Titanic will be included on the Titanic II and will be viewing decks for passengers to enjoy.

With regards to interiors and furnishings, everything will be as it was on the original Titanic. There will be no TVs, internet or phones and third class passengers will be segregated from first class guests, as was the case on the original Titanic. Passengers will also be provided with 20th century costumes to wear in order to look the part and will be able to work out in an Edwardian gym!

So, would you want to sail on the Titanic II? Would you feel comfortable sailing on a replica of a ship that ended life in such a tragic manner? On one hand I think it would be a wonderful experience to see what life would have been like on this beautiful ship during the golden age of cruising but I also feel it could perhaps be a little insensitive to the families of people who lost their lives on the original Titanic.