Dublin Port has agreed a new deal with Princess Cruises worth an estimated €23m to the local economy.

Princess Cruises will bring 10 giant cruise liners, with 26,400 passengers and 14,100 crew to Dublin in 2005.

Dublin Port has seen the number of cruise line passengers increase steadily over the last few years and expects to see almost 40,000 passengers to the port this year, a 100% increase on 2000.

Visiting cruise liners make a major contribution to the Irish economy each year. A recent study by the Centre for Policy Studies in University College Cork highlighted that cruise liners visiting Irish ports contributed €65.9m to the economy in 2003 in the direct and indirect purchase of goods and services.

Dublin Port accounted for 46% of this at €30.6m.

'This deal represents a major endorsement for Dublin Port as an attractive international destination by one of the major international cruise operators,' commented Enda Connellan, Dublin Port Company's CEO.

'However, we now need to consider investing in a dedicated cruise terminal at Dublin Port to maintain and grow this lucrative business,' he added.