Watch TUI cruise ship Marella Explorer 2 sail past South Shields - did you spot her?
The huge TUI cruise liner on the River Tyne sailed past South Shields at the weekend as it welcomed passengers on board for the first time in over year.
The Marella Explorer 2 left the Port of Tyne on Saturday evening for a two-night break which saw those on board enjoy a day at sea before returning to the port.
One of the newest ships in the TUI fleet, the Marella Explorer 2 has 14 decks and 907 cabins and counts 10 bars, nine restaurants and a swimming pool amongst its facilities.
The visit marked the start of the Port of Tyne’s ‘cruise season’ as Covid restrictions are eased, with the vessel set to return next month for an eight night cruise starting from Newcastle.
It comes as the cruise industry looks to recover from the coronavirus pandemic by offering UK trips while the uncertainty around foreign travel continues.
Managing director of Cruise TUI UK & Ireland, Chris Hackney, said: “After pausing our operations for more than a year, we are delighted to announce our UK summer programme and welcome our wonderful customers back onboard our ships.
"The safety and well-being of both our crew and passengers remains our priority which is why we have vaccination and testing protocols for all sailings from UK ports this summer.
“Domestic sailings are a great step for the cruise industry and have given us the opportunity to take our customers to new destinations full of culture and history whilst still being close to home.