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'Longest cruise ship' to dock at Tilbury, Norwegian Pearl, sails up River Thames past Gravesend

By Lynn Cox

One of the longest cruise ships ever to travel up the Thames left people in Kent open-mouthed as they watched it sail past.

The Norwegian Pearl is the longest vessel to visit the London International Cruise Terminal in Tilbury and was photographed from Gravesend this morning.

The ship was launched in 2006 and arrived at the terminal earlier this morning.

Norwegian Pearl on the River Thames at Gravesend. Picture Jason Arthur
Norwegian Pearl on the River Thames at Gravesend. Picture Jason Arthur

It is owned by the Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) company and usually sails around Alaska and the Caribbean.

The ship is the third of NCL's four Jewel-class ships and is one metre longer than the Mein Schiff 3, which previously held the terminal's record after visiting the terminal in September 2017.

Construction of the vessel began in October 2005 and was floated out of the Meyer Werft Shipyard a year later.

She arrived in Southampton in November 2006 and left on her first voyage with paying passengers in December travelling to Miami, Florida, where she was based for her first season.

Norwegian Pearl. Photograph: Jason Arthur
Norwegian Pearl. Photograph: Jason Arthur

From early May to late September, the Norwegian Pearl usually travels on a one-week cruise to Alaska.

In the winter it cruises around Panama, the Caribbean, and Miami.

This year it will spend the summer in Europe offering various trips from Amsterdam, Rome, Civitavecchia, Barcelona, and Venice.

Norwegian Pearl is 965ft long. Picture: Jason Arthur
Norwegian Pearl is 965ft long. Picture: Jason Arthur

The ship can carry 2,394 passengers and has a crew of 1,099 and is 965ft long and is expected to leave Tilbury at about 8pm this evening.

It is the third time she has visited the cruise terminal since she was built.

For more quirky and unusual stories in Kent, click here.

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