2019 marks 20 years of cruise travel at the Port of Tyne. The Port in North East England welcomed its first cruise call, Cunard’s Royal Viking Sun on 30 August 1999.
Since then, cruise holidays have enjoyed a surge in popularity, with more than 2 million British travelers taking a cruise last year.
Almost £8 million has been invested in the Port of Tyne’s passenger facilities in the past 20 years, including £5 million in transforming Northumbrian Quay in to a purpose built cruise berth. The completion of works in 2007 coincided with the 40th anniversary of the QE2.
In 2008, £1.2 million was invested in refurbishing the International Passenger Terminal, improving the passenger lounge, check-in desks and car parking facilities; 2008 also saw the QE2 make a final visit as part of the ship’s farewell tour, and the first call from Holland America Lines’ Eurodam bringing mainly American tourists to visit North East England.
Graeme Hardie, Head of Operations at Port of Tyne, said: “In the last 20 years the Port of Tyne has welcomed over 700k cruise passengers from 60 different cruise lines on 450 cruise calls.
“The combined economic contribution of the Port of Tyne cruise and ferry operations adds some £56 million to the North East economy and supports thousands of jobs in the tourism and hospitality sector.”
Highlights during the past 20 years have included the visit from one of the most luxurious residences at sea, The World in 2011, and in 2015 the Port became the homeport for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ flagship Balmoral.
In 2016, the Port of Tyne welcomed the first call from Disney Magic and handled a record five passenger ships in one day.
This year, the Port will welcome a record 59 cruise calls. And, as cruise holidays continue to evolve, so do the Port of Tyne facilities: earlier this year, the Port opened a new car park and baggage terminal for Marella Cruises; August sees it embark on a £0.5m project to widen Northumbrian Quay, ensuring North East England will be cruising forward long into the future.