The International Mayflower Compact partnership has invited cruise operators to call at various ports around the UK in 2020 as part of its commemorations to mark 400 years since the Mayflower ship took the first English pilgrims from the UK and the Netherlands to the ‘New World’ of America for the first time.
To commemorate the anniversary of the historic voyage, International Mayflower Compact partnership has created a Mayflower 400 programme, which will see 11 destinations across the UK teaming up to create a new Mayflower Trail. They will also host a series of cultural and creative events to highlight the impact of the Mayflower’s journey on Native American communities, the relationship between the UK and US, and the themes of migration, tolerance, freedom and democracy.
The main cruise ports identified for Mayflower shore excursions in the UK include Plymouth, Dartmouth, Southampton, Harwich, Dover, Tilbury (London), Bristol and Hull (Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire). UK-based operator Saga Cruises has already scheduled a Mayflower-themed cruise.
“Cruise liners and passengers can follow in the footsteps of the Mayflower Pilgrims,” said Amanda Lumley, executive director of Destination Plymouth and Mayflower 400. “It’s really encouraging to see cruise companies getting involved with Mayflower 400-themed tours already and we are delighted to see that Saga Cruises has just launched a themed ‘Pilgrimage to the New World’ tour which starts in Southampton, calling at Plymouth before heading over to the US – inviting passengers to immerse themselves in the foundations of modern America.”
Boutique cruise operator Azamara Club Cruises is likely to call at Dartmouth in 2020 as part of the Mayflower 400 celebrations.
“We’re hoping to welcome cruise company Azamara, which specifically requested to bring their guests to Dartmouth during the Mayflower 400 period on its luxury ship, Azamara Quest,” said Tricia Daniels, cruise advisor to Dart Harbour & Navigation Authority. “Azamara is an upmarket company with an international clientele it prides itself on immersive voyages, spending longer in ports than average, in order to understand more about each destination, so it is well placed to visit Dartmouth during Mayflower 400.”
To kick-start the countdown to the commemorations in 2020, Mayflower 400 sponsored CruiseBritain’s ‘Cruise into winter’ event in London on 5 December. The event included a chartered river trip on one of MBNA Thames Clippers’ passenger ferries, which sailed past The Mayflower Pub in Rotherhithe, rumoured to be the spot where captain Christopher Jones moored the Mayflower to avoid paying taxes further down the river.
“The Mayflower 400 commemorations hold significant business potential particularly for the inbound cruise industry, but also the domestic market wishing to explore their heritage by ship,” said James Stangroom, chair of CruiseBritain. “Over 1.42 million trips ashore were made to British ports in 2017 and with an average passenger spend of £70 per visit, day call revenue is worth £100 million, much of which is spent on shore excursions. With cruise growth to the British Isles outstripping growth rates to other northern European cruise areas, these numbers are only set to rise, particularly as the US, Britain and Germany represent three of the four dominant source markets for the global cruise industry.’’
For more information and suggested shore excursion itineraries visit this page.
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