The Artemis Docks on the Tyne

The cruise ship Artemis, able to carry 1200 passengers was berthed between the piers of South Shields today. The Artemis was welcomed into the Port on the Tyne which is a 230metres in length,  P&O cruiser, scheduled to arrive on the Tyne at 7am precisely.

The European cruise ship was to be docked at Northumbrian Quay in North Shields until about 5pm, which would give passengers some time to disembark and have the chance to visit the tourist attractions in the region.

This is the second time in less than a week that the river Tyne has had the please of a large cruise vessel.

Only last Thursday the Westerdam arrived on the river with 2000 passengers, who were mostly from the United States.

The latest figures are showing that there is a mini-boom in cruise liner visits, to the North East, which is giving a multi-million pound boost to the areas economy.

The Artemis made history, in April by being Captained by Sarah Breton as she set sail with P&O Cruises’, being the first female captain.

Sarah is only the second female in the world to captain a major cruise liner.

Today its passengers, mainly Britons, were to take tours of local attractions, which include Hadrian’s Wall, Newcastle, Bamburgh Castle, Durham, Bowes Museum and Alnwick Garden.

The Port will be giving a taster of Northumberland hospitality at which passengers can try local produce, while serenaded by Northumbrian pipes.

A spokesperson for the Port of Tyne said: “The UK cruise market has doubled in size during the last decade, and is predicted to double again over the next 10 years – to three million passengers annually.” As large cruise operators look to expand into new markets, the Tyne is fast becoming an attractive port of call for Northern European cruises. “The Port of Tyne cruise and ferries business has a positive economic impact on the region.

There are 25 cruise calls due this year(2010), so European Cruise operations on the Tyne continue to perform well.

A Variety of Cruises to Cater for the More Senior Traveller

According to the dallasnews, who ask the question “What are the best cruises for seniors?”, and their conclusion is that there is no real easy answer, because there is no one size fits all seniors.

Of course, seniors are no longer people who have retired at 65 and are now looking ahead to a few years of retirement bliss. They may be only fifty years old and may still be employed in regular work, with a yearning for travel and adventure. Also, they might be people who like to cruise with plenty of activities to keep them interested, both off and on the ship. They may also prefer peace and quiet and a more relaxing, cruise environment.

Of course, each has their own personal favourites, and that means that there is a whole load reasons seniors will choose certain cruise itineraries and ships.

“The definition of seniors is changing. Now they are more active, more daring,” said Carolyn Brown, who is the editor of Cruise Critic, which is an independent online magazine.

That is just one reason, for example, that Seabourn, which is a luxury line long a popular choice with older passengers who favour a more traditional  European Cruises, is putting more emphasis on active itineraries on its three newest ships.

“Seniors are looking for more things to do, to explore,” Nancy Parode,  senior travel guide for, was quoted to say.

If you are looking for a great seniors choice cruise, Holland America and Celebrity are renowned as the best premium lines offering excellent choices, Royal Caribbean and Princess are best for active seniors, Cunard are great for ocean crossings, with Carnival for seniors on a tighter budget, Disney for inter-generational family cruises at sea, or Cruise West for best light adventure programmes and finally Silversea as best luxury small ship cruise operator for seniors.

Costa’s backing Dover cruises for 2011

Logic and forward planning is one thing that isn’t to be expected from the planning departments of cruise companies, I would think. Otherwise how is it possible to respond to Costa Cruises decision to use UK as the base for one of their ships, which is just under 3 months after the Italian company has previously shut down its London office?

It has only been a short while since the rival company NCL – despite figures showing increasing expansion in the numbers of passengers sailing cruises-only from United Kingdom ports, had decided to stop using Dover for their European Cruises and use the Port or Copenhagen instead to base its Baltic cruises from instead.

They stated that their passengers would rather save the time spent travelling over the North Sea, however the more likely truth is that the company’s choice was partly made to save fuel and to meet the requirement for 9-night cruises instead of much longer itineraries.

Now, Costa are taking a different position. On May 29th, next year the 2,700 passenger Costa Magica will be sailing  from Harwich on an itinerary which will take in 7 European capitals in total, not stopping in all 7 though so you need to include some long travel times by coach to include them all.

As well as London, the cities are Amsterdam, Berlin (from Hamburg), Paris (from Le Havre), Oslo , Copenhagen and Edinburgh.

Departures dates are on June 8, 18 and 28; July 8, 18 and 28, and August 7 and 17 leaving from Dover, and the final 2 cruises of the season, on August 27 and September 6, departing from Harwich.

The sailings leaving on May 29, July 18 and August 7 will visit Invergordon which is in the north-east of Scotland, this is to replace Edinburgh.

There is also an very interesting chance at the end of the season to leave port from Harwich to Savona, which will call at Amsterdam, Hamburg, Vigo, Lisbon, Cadiz and Marseille.