Fred Olsen to run Harwich cruises

Fred Olsen Cruise Lines has confirmed plans to base a ship in Harwich for selected sailings in 2013.

The move, which was flagged by new sales and marketing director Nathan Philpot in an interview with Travel Weekly last month, will see four departures from the port.

The 804-passenger Black Watch will run three cruises in May – to the Baltic, Norway and Lapland, through the Gulf of Bothnia – and a mini-cruise in June. The cruises will range in length from 3 to 14 nights in duration.

The line’s planning director Matt Grimes said: “Harwich International Port has long been on our radar as a turnaround port following a series of successful transit calls in recent years.

“Its direct rail connections from London, whereby guests alight right next to the cruise terminal, make this an extremely easy port to access.

“The addition of this new regional departure port means that Fred Olsen is able to operate a vessel within only 100 miles of over 90% of the UK population, which will enhance further our reputation as the UK’s local cruise line with a global choice of itineraries.”

A spokesman for Harwich port owner Hutchison Ports said: “We are delighted Fred Olsen Cruise Lines has decided to commence turnaround calls after such successful visits by Black Watch in 2010 and Balmoral in 2011.”

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