Ending what has been the most successful cruise season so far, the Port of Tyne has learned that it was a runner up in the SeatradeInsider Cruise Awards 2008 in the Port of the Year category. Jennifer Dunn Marketing & Communications Manager at the Port of Tyne says “The award goes to the port which has made significant improvements to its facilities and cruise-tourism infrastructure over the past 12 months. It was exciting to have been short listed and it's fantastic to be a runner up”.
Industry publisher SeatradeInsider announced the winners of its second annual cruise awards on 10th December during Seatrade Med held in Venice. Seatrade is one of the foremost marine and cruise industry journals and their cruise shipping industry conferences and exhibitions are the premier events of their kind. To win such industry recognition at the SeatradeInsider Cruise Awards is, for any international port, a great accolade.
Fergus Poole Cruise & International Passenger Terminal Manager at the Port of Tyne, who attended Seatrade Med in Venice on 10th December, was on hand to accept the award. He says “The Port of the Year was won by Venice and when the runners up were announced as Ponta Delgarda in the Azores and the Port of Tyne, I was thrilled to discover we were the only UK port. This is more fantastic news for us. There were 57 ports exhibiting at Sea Trade Med and this really puts us in a league of our own”.
The Port of Tyne has enjoyed a successful cruise season, with existing customers such as Thomson and Saga returning to the Tyne and new customers such as Holland America and Silver Seas arriving for the first time.
A total investment of in excess of £7 million has been made to passenger facilities enabling the Port of Tyne to attract major cruise lines to the region. With 29 cruise vessels visiting the port in 2008 cruise business has enjoyed a 40% per annum growth making the Tyne one of fastest growing cruise ports in Europe with a 62% increase in passengers which is great news for the regional economy.
2008 saw the arrival of Holland America's Rotterdam, Prinsendam and two calls for the Eurodam including her maiden voyage. Added to that was Silver Seas Prince Albert II which was berthed close to the heart of Newcastle's buzzing city centre. On the 8th October the QE2 returned to the port's Northumbrian Quay during her farewell tour.
The 11th July turned out to be a record day for the port with a total number of 8,000 passengers crossing the quays. These included Thomson's one millionth customer who arrived at the Port of Tyne International Passenger Terminal to a red carpet and champagne welcome before they boarded the Thomson Celebration.
It was also the first year that passengers have been greeted with a welcome pack courtesy of NewcastleGateshead Initiative and also the first time the Port of Tyne has given their Taste of Northumberland welcome, serving local produce to passengers as they returned to the ship.
Fergus Poole says “It has been an incredibly successful year despite the economic slow down, and plans are already in place to improve the cruise experience at the Port of Tyne next season”.