The MS Gann sailed into the Port of Sunderland in May bringing 162 tourists from Stavanger to explore what the city and wider region has to offer. They were greeted with guides about things to enjoy, from visitor attractions like the National Glass Centre and the seafront, to the bars, cafes and restaurants around Sunderland and Northern Secrets escorted many of the passengers on a bespoke tour of North Yorkshire and in particular ‘Heartbeat’ country – still very popular with visitors.
Alex Jacobs, managing director of Northern Secrets, said: “This region has so much to offer and the impact on the regional economy of the cruise industry as a whole is over £50m. The passengers enjoyed their visit and feedback on our services have been really positive and we look forward to working with the Post of Sunderland again in the future.”
Previously a visitor to the Tyne this was the third time the 6,257-tonne Norwegian cruise ship has visited the Wear. The MS Gann made a surprise visit to the port during a training exercise in April 2014, when an unscheduled diversion meant it could not reach its intended destination. The cruise ship team were so impressed by the city and the hospitality shown by Port of Sunderland, they returned in June 2015 with more than 140 tourists on board. The MS Gann is only the fifth passenger-carrying cruise ship to come into Sunderland in the last 40 years, and the first since the turn of the century.
Sunderland has recently bid to be UK City of Culture in 2021. As well as the established Northern Gallery of Contemporary Art, The National Glass Centre and the Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, Sunderland has an array of new developments across the city, from the renovation of the old Fire Station and the regeneration of the new Music, Arts and Culture Quarter, to the restoration of significant heritage sites like Hylton Castle and Roker Pier.