TUI’s Marella Explorer pictured above

The first passenger cruise call sailed into Dover for the first time in 15 months.

TUI’s Marella Explorer arrived alongside a celebratory welcome from local tugs and water cannons as part of her British Sights and Seas sailings.

Sonia Limbrick, Head of Cruise at the Port of Dover said: “We are delighted to welcome the wonderful Marella Explorer here today for her inaugural call to Dover and our first cruise call since March 2020.

The team has been preparing for this moment for a long time, working really hard to ensure that we adopt the best COVID protection measures. It’s been a long time coming and I’m so proud to see the cruise season officially launch here again today.

Kent and Dover offer some of the most inspiring cultural and scenic moments in the country, so we are the perfect destination for British Isles cruises. We can’t wait to see our long standing customers again and welcome new cruise lines here soon.”

The Port has worked closely with the UK Chamber of Shipping, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), Cruise Britain and the many cruise lines that choose Dover to implement the industry framework for COVID safe cruising.

The Port looked after cruise ships and their crews throughout the pandemic by offering lay by and repatriation facilities.

By Ed