The 294m cruise ship Norwegian Jade made her inaugural call at the Port of Tyne on 1 September 2017, marking the first call of Norwegian Cruise Line. She brought with her 2,400 passengers and over 1,000 crew to explore North East England.

She was undertaking a 15+night Norway, Iceland and UK cruise from Southampton which commenced on Saturday 19 August 2017.

Visitors from around the world disembarked, as passengers from 45 different nations set out to explore the region’s iconic attractions.

During their time ashore they will be visiting Newcastle City Centre, Hadrian’s Roman Wall, Durham Cathedral and Castle, Beamish museum, Alnwick Castle and Gardens and the Durham Dales.

Norwegian Jade was delivered to Norwegian Cruise Line in 2006 and boasts 15 different restaurants, pools a spa, theatre, library, Broadway style show lounge and an art gallery.

Originally  built as Pride of Hawaii for the Norwegian Cruise Lines’ America division. She was christened in a ceremony at the San Pedro Pier in Los Angeles, California on 22 May 2006.

This Panamax form-factor ship was built at Meyer Werft Shipyard, in Papenburg, Germany, and registers at just over 93,500gt. She was renamed Norwegian Jade in 2008.

The ship underwent a three-week dry dock in March 2017, replacing the Hawaiian theming with a ‘contemporary style’ as part of “The Norwegian Edge” investment program. The ship also received two brand new restaurants and two new bars and lounges, updated design and décor in many public spaces, and a refurbishment of all staterooms with new carpets, furniture, flat screen TVs, new larger headboards with USB charging outlets.

Steven Harrison, Port of Tyne Chief Operating Officer, said: “The combined effect of the Port of Tyne cruise and ferry business adds some £51 million to the regional economy supporting 1,700 tourism related jobs – making a significant impact.

“The Port has worked hard to expand our cruise operations to accommodate these large cruise ships and we are proud to welcome Norwegian Cruise Line for the first time – we hope that Norwegian Jade’s passengers and crew enjoy their visit and return again soon.”

The growth in cruise operations at the Port of Tyne is evident in the record number of cruise calls – in 2017 there will be 52 cruise arrivals and already 52 provisionally booked for 2018.

The number of passengers is also rising with 50,000 cruise ship passengers and around 600,000 ferry passengers and growing each year.

Norwegian Jade sailed at 5pm on 1 September) but the region won’t have to wait long to see her return as she will be back for three calls in 2018.

Main photo by Ken Short