Picture a floating city, population 4,000 or more, sliding gracefully into Cornwall's Falmouth Harbour. The inhabitants debark, spend an afternoon in town shopping and sightseeing, and vanish with the ship by nightfall.
Some relatively extensive work is needed, but there's a growing chance that it will happen -- and soon.
And if and when the dust settles from the potential dredging of Southwestern England's Falmouth Harbour, the port may be able to accommodate city-block size cruise ships like Royal Caribbean's Freedom-class giants.
The trio of Freedom-class vessels -- Freedom of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas and Independence of the Seas (which will homeport in Southampton when it debuts at the end of April) -- are amongst the most innovative in the industry, featuring surf simulators, huge rock-climbing walls, one of largest gyms afloat and flat-screen TV's in all staterooms.
But why Falmouth?
One of the deepest natural harbours in the world, the dredging would work to deepen the approach so that the Freedom-class ships could sail safely into port, with their 4,000-plus passengers in tow. A call in Falmouth would represent a new destination for many cruisers, who would be introduced to the area's quaint villages, lovely tall-ships and National Maritime Museum.
While this doesn't represent the first attempt by lines to single out Falmouth -- a number of ships, in an impressive variety of sizes and styles (luxury, mainstream, expedition) are already calling at the increasingly popular British port -- securing a ship of the Freedom-class size would be a major windfall for the port.
Of course, the prospect of 3,600 tourists descending upon the town during market day might strike some as a bit frightening.
--by Dan Askin, Assistant Editor
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Falmouth Harbour May Accommodate Massive Vessels
January 18, 2008