DFDS Launches 2014 Marine Wildlife Mini Cruise Season with ORCA

Marine wildlife mini cruises launch on Newcastle-Amsterdam route. Fares start from only £48 per person, based on four sharing

Award-winning ferry operator, DFDS, together with marine conservation charity, ORCA, has today launched its sixth annual wildlife-spotting season.

As part of the wildlife-spotting season, marine wildlife mini cruises are available for passengers onboard cruise ferry KING Seaways to enjoy. The exciting and educational two-night mini cruises combine relaxing cruise-style travel from Newcastle to Amsterdam with guided deck watches and the chance to learn more about the wildlife inhabiting the North Sea from trained ORCA wildlife officers who work onboard the cruise ferries during the summer season.

The wildlife officers organise a host of interactive and educational activities for people of all ages, including children. They also host ‘Wine and Whales’ seminars for adult passengers keen to learn about conservation and the variety of mammals and other animals found in the North Sea.

In 2013, a record number and variety of wildlife species were spotted on DFDS’ ferry route between Newcastle and Amsterdam, with 699 animals recorded between 1 April and 5 September 2013, including Minke Whales, Grey Seals, White Beaked Dolphins and Harbour Porpoises. Through its partnership with DFDS, ORCA has been able to record marine life activity in the North Sea using dedicated Marine Mammal surveys as well as promote ocean conservation to passengers via the wildlife officer programme.

DFDS also supports ORCA’s Your Seas project, which is designed to help encourage local communities to make a positive impact on the marine environment by inspiring a new generation to take an active part in conservation. As part of this outreach programme, a community engagement officer visit schools based in the North East to help educate young people about the North Sea and its inhabitants.

Max Foster, passenger director at DFDS, comments, “We have enjoyed a fantastic and special relationship with ORCA over the past six years, which has not only enabled the ORCA team to conduct more ship based surveys, but which has also brought a great deal of pleasure and insight into the marine wildlife in our seas to our passengers and crew. We are delighted to be able to announce the opening of our 2014 marine wildlife observation season, which runs from now until September.”

Sara Frost, ORCA wildlife officer, comments, “The data we collect through the wildlife officer programme is incredibly important in helping us to monitor the presence of whales and dolphins in the North Sea. 2013 was an exciting year for our North Sea wildlife officers, with so many more sightings than in previous years, which provided some truly amazing wildlife moments for passengers. During 2014, we’re looking forward to welcoming yet more passengers onto our wildlife mini cruises to enjoy the experience”

Passengers keen to spot wildlife in the North Sea with DFDS, can book now for this year’s summer season. DFDS runs wildlife mini cruise packages, from £48 per person based on four people sharing, including two nights’ accommodation onboard the luxury cruise ferry and coach transfers to and from Amsterdam city centre.

In addition to wildlife deck-watches and ‘Wine and Whale’ seminars, passengers can indulge in delicious food from one of the three onboard restaurants, before heading to one of the bars to enjoy live entertainment, or take in a movie in the cinema. Passengers can then unwind in the comfort of their own en-suite cabin and enjoy a restful night’s sleep before waking up feeling refreshed and ready to explore the delights of Amsterdam.

For further information about DFDS and ORCA or to book a wildlife mini cruise visit www.dfds.co.uk or call 0871 574 7235.

For people interested to learn more about ORCA’s wildlife officer programme, Your Seas project and how to get involved in the North Sea monitoring project, visit www.orcaweb.org.uk .

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For media enquiries contact:

Chelsey Palmer or Caroline Walker on 01732 779087 / dfdspr@westgatecomms.com