Dublin Port is planning to cut the number of cruise calls in half and stop turnaround cruises altogether from 2021.

Just 80 cruise ships will call at the port in two years’ time compared to 160 vessels this year.

Port chief executive Eamonn O’Reilly told Travel Weekly that the need to build improved facilities to accommodate rising freight volumes prompted the decision.

Dublin Port plans to spend around €1 billion over the next decade on berths for cargo ships, which account for nearly 8,000 arrivals every year.

The port has seen 36% growth in cargo capacity over the last six years, O’Reilly said.

O’Reilly said: “We are giving the industry two years’ notice but from 2021 we are going to limit the number of cruise ships coming in.

“Eighty ships [a year] is the same level that we had in 2010, 2011 and 2012.”

News of the port’s decision was met with disappointment by the Irish travel industry.

Mary McKenna, of Tour America/ Cruise Holidays, tweeted: “Very disappointing. This is not good for Dublin or the tourism business. Shocking really.”

Dublin-based blog The Cruise Room Ireland tweeted: “It would appear that Dublin Port are planning to reduce cruise calls which will have a huge impact on both cruise business, local businesses and tourism services availing of these callings. This change must be reversed.”

Shore excursions operator Excursions Ireland called the plans “disastrous” in a separate tweet.