A CRUISE ship bringing scores of sightseers to Sunderland has been berthed on the waters of the Wear for the third time.

The MS Gann sailed into the Port of Sunderland’s Corporation Quay on Friday [May 5] bringing 162 tourists from Stavanger into the city to explore what Sunderland has to offer.  The tourists were greeted with guides of things to enjoy in the city, from visitor attractions like the National Glass Centre and the seafront, to the bars, cafes and restaurants around Sunderland.

This is 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.

Following the ship’s chance visit, the cruise ship team were so impressed by the city and the hospitality shown by the team at Port of Sunderland, that they returned to Sunderland in June 2015 with more than 140 tourists on board.

Matthew Hunt, director at Port of Sunderland, said: “We are thrilled to once again act as a doorway to the city for international visitors coming to Sunderland.

“To have a cruise ship return to Port of Sunderland for a third time is a real coup and shows that we have impressed both the crew and its passengers each time they have visited.  We see real opportunities to develop the port in this area, and hope that many more cruise ships will follow the MS Gann’s lead in the future, given our ease of access and position at the heart of a vibrant city and region.”

The MS Gann is the fifth passenger-carrying cruise ship to come into Sunderland in the last 40 years and the first since the turn of the century.

Irene Lucas CBE, chief executive of Sunderland City Council, said: “It’s easy for us to take for granted just how beautiful our city is, but it really is a fantastic place for people to visit.

“We boast a city centre that is within reasonable walking distance of the seaside, and some fantastic places to see and things to do.  From stunning Mowbray Park, to St Peter’s Church, one of the country’s first stone-built churches, and the National Glass Centre, there is plenty to keep visitors entertained during their time in the city, and we hope the crew and passengers have a fantastic day in the city.”

For more information about Port of Sunderland visit www.portofsunderland.org.uk