TUI cruise ship on River Tyne 'delighted' to welcome back customers after more than a year

A stunning cruise ship on the River Tyne will welcome passengers on board for the first time in over a year.

The Marella Explorer 2, operated by TUI, sailed into the Port of Tyne from the Netherlands on Thursday morning marking the start of the port’s ‘cruise season’ as Covid restrictions are eased.

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Managing director of Cruise TUI UK & Ireland, Chris Hackney, said it was looking forward to welcoming customers back after so long.

The TUI Marella Explorer 2 cruise ship at the Port of Tyne can be seen from South Shields riverside.

“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,” he said.

"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.

"We’re looking forward to this new adventure on the British seas and are dedicated to making sure our customers have the most memorable and exciting cruise with us.”

Said to be 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 ship is set to return to the Port of Tyne on August 13 for an eight night ‘coastal delights’ cruise starting in Newcastle.

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The UK trips come as the cruise industry looks to recover from the coronavirus pandemic while uncertainty around foreign travel persists.

The Port of Tyne reported in the spring that it was poised for a ‘staycation’ cruise boom, with an unexpected demand for pleasure ship services on the River Tyne.

By April, several operators including Fred Olsen and Saga confirmed they will be sailing into and from the Port of Tyne as they launch new UK cruise staycations for summer 2021 and beyond.

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