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.

Great Food, Good Wine on the P&O Azura

One of the highlights on board our latest ship, Azura, is sure to be the wine, thanks to Oily Smith, who you may recognise from his regular appearances on shows such as Saturday Kitchen. BBC Breakfast, Great Food Live and Richards, Judy Wine Club. With a handsomely stocked wine cellar and mouthwatering menus.

Olly’s latest venture, the Class House on Azura, will be a relaxed and informal haven of good food and fine wine. Thanks to Olly’s dedication, passengers will be able to appreciate a selection of his hand-picked fine wines, which represent every major wine growing region in the world, as well as wines specifically chosen to match each course of The Class House’s signature menu.

Olly’s commitment to providing exclusive fine wines for our passengers has already taken him all over the globe – most recently to Sicily in search of the perfect house wine for Azura. Oily spent his time at the award-winning Settesoli vineyard putting together unique Porta Palo blends, which were named after the charming harbour where they were lovingly created. The results have been so impressive that we have decided to roll out the range of wines fleet-wide after they have debuted on Azura. Settesoli’s winemaker, Owen Bird, explained: “We took input from the motivated P&O Cruises team, who wanted to deliver something special to their patrons, and harnessed that with stylistic guidance from their wine guru Oily Smith. After my initial discussions with Oily we specifically produced wines to hit his flavour profiles. When we got together to assemble the blends at the winery everything just clicked into place. We are very happy with the results.”

Many of Olly’s chosen vintages will be available by the glass using an Enomatic system which dispenses wine directly from the bottle using a revolutionary inert gas preservation method. Expert wine waiters will advise you on the perfect accompaniment for your palate, whether it’s a mellow merlot or a seductive sauvignon the favourite wine buff has also put together wine flights – groups complementary wines- which can be purchased together enabling passengers to enjoy their very own mini wine-tasting session. The exuberant wine buff will also be found on selected cruises on board our latest and most sophisticated ship, Azura, where will be imparting his unsurpassable knowledge by hosting wine tastings-in The Glass House and answering questions in entertaining interviews. We look forward to welcoming him on board.