CRUISE fans will soon be able to travel to Morocco from Tilbury, following a deal between port bosses and Norwegian cruise company Fred Olsen.

The 800-passenger Marco Polo, owned by Cruise and Maritime Voyages, is the only liner operating from the port.

From next year it will be joined by Olsen’s Black Watch, which will cater for 800 holidaymakers and sail toMorocco, Portugal, the Canary Islands and Norway.

Captain Richard Exley, Tilbury Port’s cruise manager, said: “Thirty years ago, Fred Olsen operated passenger vessels from Tilbury to the Canary Isles and in 2014, we look forward to welcoming them back.” Adam Coulter, editor-in-chief of Cruise Critic, the world’s largest cruise reviews site, believes these are exciting times for the port and Thurrock.

He said: “I don’t see why more small, regional players won’t choose Tilbury. There’s a massive catchment area and that’s a big advantage. It all means more jobs, more money coming in to the area and it means regeneration. Each time a ship stops, it brings in a lot of money.”

The port has already begun a multi-million pound revamp of its cruise terminal. The terminal already offers around the world cruises on the Marco Polo, which has had its busiest year so far.

The first departure of Black Watch is scheduled for November 15 next year. It will be a 14-night mystery cruise