Were you fooled? The world is our oyster as cruise ships are set to sail from Norwich

Norwich -- RiversA boater's view of the River Wensum looking towards Foundry Bridge with the Hotel N

Norwich -- RiversA boater's view of the River Wensum looking towards Foundry Bridge with the Hotel Nelson on the left and the Floating Restaurant on the rightDated -- 27 July 1991Photograph -- c9593 - Credit: Archant

Norwich is set to become a cruise base for some of the most exclusive liners in the world, the Evening News can reveal today.

St Petersburg, Russia

St Petersburg, Russia - Credit: Archant

Fabulous 'gin palaces' normally seen in the emerald waters of exotic lands could be seen in the heart of the city by 2020 – taking passengers direct from the heart of Norfolk to some stunning locations.

It's all thanks to revolutionary dredging techniques which have been secretly used to cut a deep channel in Breydon Water – the major obstacle and tricky between coast and city.

Dredgers working secretly at night have dug a deep water channel, using a technique only made possible by work in the nearby North Sea energy sector. The perfect deep water channel has been cut – allowing cruisers to approach Norwich by the Yare and Wensum, long known as deep enough at 30 feet to cope with the draft of major liners.

Two other major difficulties – a turning point and cruise terminal – have been worked through and overcome.

The terminal would be next to Norwich station – near to current hotels and restaurants. All bridges have been checked for clearance and given a green light.

'A major issue was a turning point,' said Tim Fairweather, MD of the Liberian-registered (LIA) Flo-Pro dredging firm, which has cut a five-mile pathway through Breydon Water.

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'But we found a cut in the river, close to Norwich City's ground at Carrow Road where ships can turn and back up the last quarter mile.' Cruises could go around the UK, to the Baltic and Norway for the summer season as well as to the Mediterranean.

Tourism boss Nick Bond has welcomed the news.

As the head of tourism at Visit Norwich, Mr Bond said the exclusive base in the city will be a big boost.

He said: 'We can't wait to see big cruise ships on our city skyine, sitting along side the castle and the cathedral.'

Norwich to the world

From the medieval city of Norwich to the calm waters of the Mediterranean, luxury liners soon to be based in Norwich can take you there.

You could visit the ancient city of Athens in Greece and feast your eyes on its beauty and vast history.

Or your breath could be taken away by the Sognefjord, the largest and most well-known fjord in Norway and the third longest in the world.

So from Finland, Sweden and Denmark to Russia's second city of St Petersburg, the cruise can show you parts of the world you never thought possible from a departure point in Norwich.