Newcastle’s Port Of Tyne lists no less than twenty one round trip departures over the summer of 2014, featuring ships from three different lines, between May and October. With Thomson Cruises pulling out of ex- UK cruising for 2015 at least, this might be something of a high water mark for the northern port.
That line is offering nine sailings from Port Of Tyne, with the 33,000 ton Thomson Spirit. Beginning with the first round trip departure from the port on May 27th, she will be making three twelve to fifteen night cruises to the highlights of the Baltic, as well as a twelve night cruise to the top of the North Cape, and a special, fifteen night cruise out to Iceland and the Arctic.
There is also a trio of seven night cruises over to the spectacular fjords of Western Norway. The season closes out with a three night mini cruise on August 23rd, which repositions the ship to Harwich.
Cruise And Maritime is also returning to sailings from the Tyne, with the 22,000 ton veteran Marco Polo making five sailings, beginning with a six night cruise to Western Norway that leaves on June 9th. A further, seven night itinerary that also sails to Norway on 27th June is bracketed by a twelve night Baltic Capitals cruise, departing from the Tyne on June 15th, and a fourteen night adventure to the North Cape of Norway that sails on July 4th.
Marco Polo rounds off her Tyneside season with an eleven night, Round Britain cruise that sails on July 18th. This cruise ends at London Tilbury.
Last but not least, northern mainstay Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines returns to the Tyne with the 28,000 ton Black Watch. The former Royal Viking Line flagship is serving up seven round trip departures, kicking off with a fifteen night foray to the North Cape on June 28th.
This is followed by a one off, seven night cruise to Western Norway on July 13th, and an eleven night swing out to Iceland on July 20th.
After a brief break, the Black Watch returns to the Tyne on September 14th to make a fourteen night Baltic Capitals cruise, followed by an eleven night cruise down to the sunny highlights of Northern Spain on September 28th. A penultimate, ten night departure on October 9th goes to some of the highlights of Scandinavia.
Final departure of the year is a fifteen night, Canary Islands sailing on October 19th, before Black Watch closes the Port Of Tyne cruise season with her departure from North Shields on November 3rd.
Between them, the total of twenty one sailings carried out by these three ships are anticipated to carry a total of 21,000 passengers from the only major port of embarkation in North East England. While a relatively small total compared to the flagship ports on the south coast, it has to be kept in mind that the season from the Tyne is a lot shorter than for most other ports on the mainland UK.
Future trends are hard to see, for although both Fred. Olsen and Cruise And Maritime will be back on the Tyne in 2015, the abrupt departure of Thomson Cruises creates something of a void. With a passenger capacity of around 1,250, the Thomson Spirit offers half as many berths again as her rivals, and she also offered the largest number of sailings. It has to be hoped that her absence in 2015 is only a temporary blip.