The North East England port 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 two million British travellers taking a cruise last year.
Almost GBP 8 million (USD 9.59 million) has been invested in the Port of Tyne’s passenger facilities in the past 20 years, including GBP 5 million (USD 5.99 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 Queen Elizabeth 2.
Graeme Hardie, head of operations at Port of Tyne said: “In the last 20 years the Port of Tyne has welcomed over 700,000 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 GBP 56 million (USD 67.12 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, it 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, it will welcome a record 59 cruise calls.