A TASTE of life on the ocean wave can now be sampled in the land-locked centre of Basildon, courtesy of First Choice Travel.

The travel agency premises in Westgate now offer a replica of a lounge aboard a cruise liner, designed to put would-be passengers in the mood for the real thing.

The new installation reflects soaring demand for the cruise market in general and Tilbury-based cruises in particular.

Keeley McDonnell, superstore manager, said: “Holidaymakers appreciate the fact they can embark from an Essex port rather than having to fly out to Europe to start their cruise.

“Sitting clients down in the cruise lounge helps to set the mood.”

Lisa Jacobs, key accounts manager of Dartford-based Cruise & Maritime, which runs cruise liner ships of Tilbury, said: “There are many people who may not be aware of this great facility on our doorstep, so it’s good to see it being promoted in this way.”