New cruise era for region

A NEW era in British cruise history was under way today - after a luxury cruise liner swept out of the River Orwell on an inaugural trip to Iceland.More than 2,000 passengers and crew sailed out of Harwich and via Felixstowe on the way to the magical, mystery island where there is 24-hour daylight in summer.

A NEW era in British cruise history was under way today - after a luxury cruise liner swept out of the River Orwell on an inaugural trip to Iceland.

More than 2,000 passengers and crew sailed out of Harwich and via Felixstowe on the way to the magical, mystery island where there is 24-hour daylight in summer.

The 33,000 ton Thomson Spirit was packed with guests on its first Fire and Ice sailing, an 11-night trip which sees the vessel first call in at Thorshavn, in the Faroe Islands, before having three stops on the Icelandic coast.

The ship's first stop is at Reykjavik, Iceland's capital, where travellers can visit the city and the mighty Gullfoss waterfall nearby. It then makes two more stops on the north coast as it circles the island.

On the return journey to England she will call in at Flam and Bergen in Norway.

Spokeswoman for Thomson, Lynn Houghton, said the sailing had been a huge attraction with cruise customers from East Anglia and further afield and had already been booked in for the 2008 season.

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David Selby, Head of Thomson Cruise, said:" We are very excited about our first ever sailing to Iceland out of Port of Harwich.

“As Iceland is renowned for its dramatic scenery and rugged landscape, we have decided to combine it with two popular stops in Norway - Flam and Bergen - which are equally breathtaking. “

n. Have you been to Iceland and have memories and pictures you want to share?

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Fact-File: Thomson Spirit

Prices for the current trip started at £919 full board.

Tonnage: 33,930

Length: 214.66 m

Speed: 18 knots

Decks: 9

Lifts: 7

Cabins: 627

Cruise passengers: 1254

Crew and staff: 520

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