Sunderland will welcome its first passenger-carrying ship in more than 15 years this weekend.
The MS Gann will bring more than 140 tourists from Stavanger in Norway into the city when it docks on Sunday.
This is a great tourism boost and shows the port’s potential to develop and grow the city’s visitor economy in the future.Port director Matthew Hunt
The 6,257 gross tonne cruise ship visited Port of Sunderland in April 2014 for a training exercise, after an unscheduled diversion meant it could not go to its intended stop-off.
But this weekend it will return for a planned visit, only the fifth passenger-carrying cruise ship to come into the port with tourists on board in the last 40 years and the first this century.
Tour operator Northern Secrets is already in discussions about further visits.
Mayor Coun Barry Curran will be greeting passengers as they arrive: “This is a real boost for Sunderland,” he said.
“The city has a fantastic port, with a team who really cannot do enough to welcome people to the city, and we also have a great deal to offer as a visitor destination.
“To have a cruise ship coming into the port is the beginning of a new era for us, and of course, the port’s closeness to the city centre means it couldn’t be easier to transport people from the port to enjoy all of the great shops, bars, restaurants and attractions we have in close proximity.
Port director Matthew Hunt added: “This is a great tourism boost and shows the port’s potential to develop and grow the city’s visitor economy in the future.
“The MS Gann visited us last year and the crew was so impressed by the city that they immediately started a discussion with us about arranging a visitor trip.
“It’s a real boost for the city.”