Dublin Port Company hosted 54 passenger cruise ships this year, carrying 32,500 passengers and 17,000 crew. The visits provided an estimated €30m injection to the local economy and supported 240 full time jobs, the company said today as it said it had completed a 'successful'  season.

The company said it is on target to exceed the achievements of 2004 next year, as 56 cruise liners have already committed to calling at Dublin Port.

This growth is due in part to the major agreement signed between Dublin Port Company and Princess Cruises that will bring 10 giant cruise liners to the city next year. The deal is worth an estimated €23m to the local economy.

Dublin Port hosted the Grand Princess, the largest cruise ship to ever visit Dublin, in August. The vessel brought almost 4,000 passengers and crew to the capital during its one day stop - which Dublin Port says contributed €3m to the economy.

'Dublin Port Company has long recognised the potential of cruise liner visits,' commented Enda Connellan, the company's CEO. 'As a result of our work, cruise passenger numbers to Dublin have increased 100% over the past four years. We will continue with our efforts to grow this economically beneficial business,' he added.

The 2005 season begins with the visit of the first cruise ship on March 19.