North East Connected

Set sail on a tall ship

Visitors to The Tall Ships Races Sunderland 2018 can now book tickets for the best seats in town – on board the decks of an historic sailing ship.

The Tall Ships Sunderland 2018 is a four-day festival of sail on the North East coast from 11 to 14 July.

As start port for the month-long international event, Sunderland has lined up a packed schedule of circus, music, theatre and dance before 56 ships from afar afield as India and Vanuatu embark on the first leg of the races, to Esbjerg, Denmark.

But those keen to swap dry land for the open sea can now buy tickets for a trio of Tall Ships cruises – and the chance to join the crew on one of the spectacular sailing vessels from around the globe.

The afternoon Tall Ships cruises, each at least two hours long, will be held at various times each day and will take passengers past the historic Roker Pier and Lighthouse and out into the North Sea.

From the decks of the ship they will also have views of other vessels taking part, including the Mir and Christian Radich, which are true ‘Cathedrals of the Sea.’

Alternatively, the Fireworks Tall Ship Cruise is a two-and-a-half-hour evening trip on Wednesday 11 July.

Passengers will follow the same route and, as the sun sets over the mouth of the River Wear, they will have the best possible vantage point to see the firework display which will mark the end of the first day of The Tall Ships Races Sunderland 2018.

Finally, possibly the most exclusive package is the VIP Parade of Sail Cruise – a four-hour daytime trip on the last day of the event, Saturday 14 July.

Not only will passengers experience the excitement of the crews as the ships prepare for the first leg of the races, but their vessel will join the highlight of the four-day festival; the Parade of Sail.

They will join the other 55 ships in a spectacular parade up the coast, past cheering crowds, as they take their places for the start of the race to Esbjerg.

“The Tall Ships Races Sunderland 2018 is going to be the biggest free event in the UK this year and is happening in our City, once the biggest shipbuilding port in the world,” said Cllr John Kelly, Sunderland City Council Portfolio Holder for Communities and Culture.

“And what better way to enjoy the atmosphere than be stepping aboard one of the ships? These packages are a brilliant way of enjoying the atmosphere and excitement of the event. I’d urge people to book quickly, though, because places are limited and demand is understandably high.”

The Tall Ships day cruises will depart on Wednesday, 11 July at 11.30am, 1.30pm, and 3.30pm; Thursday, 12 July at 11am, 1pm, 3pm and 5pm; Friday, 13 July at 11.30am, 1.30pm, 3.30pm and 5.30pm and Saturday, 14 July at 12 noon.

Tickets cost £59.90 for adults, £54.90 for concessions and £39.90 for under 15s.

The firework cruise will set sail at 8.00pm on 11 July and tickets cost £69.90 for adults, £64.90 for concessions and £49 for under 15s.

The VIP Parade of Sail Cruises will depart on Saturday, 14 July at 1pm, 1.30pm and 2.30pm and tickets cost £139.90 for adults, £134.90 for concessions and £119.90 for under 15s.

Tickets for each of the three packages can be booked by following the link

For further information about hospitality opportunities at The Tall Ships Races Sunderland 2018 or visit


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