This visitor will take some beating after the largest cruise ship in more than a decade entered the River Wear.
Port of Sunderland welcomed the MS Hamburg, a 15,000 tone, 420 passenger cruise ship, as the ship made its final call on its tour.
The 144m-long vessel headed to the North East from Rosyth in Scotland before it sailed on to Bremerhaven in Germany.
Its 318 guests spent eight hours on dry land, taking organised tours to export religious sites across the region.
Its visit made it the largest vessel of its kind to enter the port in 15 years, while it is the third consecutive year a cruise ship has used the city as a stop-off point.
The port announced in 2014 that it intended to welcome passenger vessels on a regular basis after it greeted the MS Gann that year.
Not only is the city’s own tourism offer developing at pace, but we are at the heart of an incredibly beautiful part of the country, with cosmopolitan shopping districts and places that are steeped in history and heritage a stone’s throw from the port.Matthew Hunt, director of Port of Sunderland
Matthew Hunt, director at Port of Sunderland, said: “Port of Sunderland was delighted to welcome its first passenger vessel in 2014, and it is fantastic to see that our reputation is beginning to grow, with inquiries coming in from tour operators looking at alternative, easily-accessible and well-connected locations to dock.
“Sunderland is extremely well-placed for tourists to the UK.
“Not only is the city’s own tourism offer developing at pace, but we are at the heart of an incredibly beautiful part of the country, with cosmopolitan shopping districts and places that are steeped in history and heritage a stone’s throw from the port.”
The port has been working with the ship’s agent Inchscape Shipping Services for more than a year and hopes that the MS Hamburg’s stop-off at Port of Sunderland will be one of many more in the future.
Councillor Paul Watson, leader of Sunderland City Council and chairman of the port board, said: “Sunderland is not only a great city in its own right, but a gateway to a region that has a huge amount to offer tourists from not only the UK, but right around the world.
“With Port of Sunderland less than five minutes from open sea, a flexibility and friendliness that comes with coming into a smaller port, and fantastic links to our own city centre, and other major towns and cities in the North East, are in a great position to attract cruise ships looking for an attractive port of call in the UK.
“Looking ahead, with significant infrastructure improvements over the next few years and major projects to enhance the offer we have in the city for tourists, Port of Sunderland will only see its position as a cruise-ship destination strengthen and we look forward to welcoming many more vessels like the Hamburg in the future.”