Dreaming of cruising to Dublin in the near future? This is going to be more challenging come 2021. As a matter of fact, the Dublin Port Company has recently announced it will cut the number of cruise ships docking in the capital city of Ireland. This will be so despite cruise tourism contributing around 50 million euros each year to Irish tourism, and opposition by cruise operators, Irish tourism organizations and cruise industry groups alike.

Why is the Dublin Port Company looking to reduce cruise ship calls to the city when most are happy to ride on the wave driven by the growing cruise tourism market? Apparently, Dublin has had to deal with increased shipping volume since 2012.

The higher cruise and cargo numbers have led to increased competition for berthing space at the Dublin Port, hence port officials are trying to better allocate berths catered to year-round cargo services as well as seasonal cruise ships.

Executives at the Dublin Port Company stressed they have to balance a whole range of businesses, not just cruises. Therefore, beginning in 2021, it is likely that the number of cruise ships allowed to call on Dublin Port will be cut by more than half.

To put things into perspective, Dublin Port is anticipating to host over 160 cruise ships in 2019. The drastic cut in number of cruise ships allowed to visit the port in 2021 will undeniably present challenges for cruise operators, cruises as well as local tourism stakeholders.

Word has it that only two large cruise ships will be allowed to dock at Dublin Port each week during the 2021 summer cruising season, and one large cruise ship each week in winter. Some other restrictions will be implemented, too.

Nonetheless, all is not lost. Mr. Eamonn O'Reilly, Dublin Port Company's chief executive, has hinted Dublin will try to raise the number of cruise ship calls to the port allowed to 150 annually in 2024 and 2025.

Denise Bay is a staff writer at GET.com. Email: denise.bay@get.com.