THE Port of Tyne welcomed its first cruise ship of the year at the weekend as the river awaits the arrival of 600,000 passengers over the coming months.
Magellan, the proud new flagship of Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV), arrived at the Port’s Northumbrian Quay on Saturday.
Cruise departures are growing, with many more people choosing to start their holiday directly from the Port of Tyne.Susan Wear, Port of Tyne
Named after the 16th century Portuguese explorer who first circumnavigated the globe, the vessel only joined the CMV fleet on March 12.
Each year more than 600,000 passengers are welcomed by the South Shields-based Port of Tyne.
With cruise holidays a growing market, the port has 27 cruise calls planned for 2015, and 32 already scheduled for next year.
And this year will see the first visit of Miami-based premium cruise operator Oceania Cruises, which is operating two transit calls to the region, with the Marina and the Nautica.
Regent Seven Seas is also visiting with the Seven Seas Voyager luxury cruiser on one transit call, and there is also the inaugural call of Crystal Symphony, and the return of Holland America Line operating a transit call with the Eurodam.
With the British cruise market going from strength to strength, UK-based Fred Olsen Cruise Lines and Cruise & Maritime Voyages are also extending their departures, and both are operating a number of transit calls for the first time.
Chris Coates, commercial director at CMV, said: “The introduction of Magellan to our growing ocean fleet is another important milestone in the expansion and strategic development of the CMV presence in the UK and wider international markets which will increase our overall capacity to 115,000 passengers.
“Since launching Magellan’s programme in November 2014, we have sold 65 per cent of her capacity, which clearly demonstrates the strong demand for smaller ship cruising in the British market.”
Remodelled in 2010, at the cost of £40m, the 221.3-metre long Magellan delivers the traditional five star British cruise experience, offering fine dining, first-class entertainment with a stylish contemporary twist.
Susan Wear, Port of Tyne director of corporate affairs, said: “Cruise departures are growing, with many more people choosing to start their holiday directly from the Port of Tyne, and it is really good news that CMV and Fred Olsen are both extending their departures to include new and exciting destinations like St. Petersburg, Morocco, Spain, and the Azores.”
To mark the inaugural call of Magellan, the port presented Cruise & Maritime Voyages with a hand-blown piece of coloured glass highlighting the Tyne’s tradition of glass making.
The Port of Tyne was named UK Port of the Year at the National Transport Awards 2014, and the facility is one of the UK’s fastest growing major deep-sea ports as a vital trading gateway to worldwide markets.