A British ship that disappeared almost 170 years ago has finally been discovered.
It was one of two vessels, HMS Erebus and HMS Terror, that disappeared in the Arctic during a doomed bid to find a northern sea route between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
The ships' disappearance sparked one of the biggest maritime mysteries in history, and a rescue operation that lasted from 1848 to 1859.
The Northwest Passage expedition was led by Royal Navy officer Sir John Franklin in 1845. But his 129 crew were all lost at sea.
Back in 2008, a team of divers and archaeologists launches a mission to find the ships, to no avail.
But Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has now revealed a remote-controlled submarine has finally found one of them.
According to the The Sun, he said in a statement: "I am delighted to announce that this year's Victoria Strait expedition has solved one of Canada's greatest mysteries, with the discovery of one of the two ships belonging to the Franklin Expedition.
"Finding the first vessel will no doubt provide the momentum - or wind in our sails - necessary to locate its sister ship and find out even more about what happened to the Franklin Expedition's crew."
According to the Daily Telegraph, sonar images indicate the vessel is well-preserved.
Ryan Harris, an underwater archeologist who is one of the Parks Canada search team leaders, said that the image projected at a press conference showed the "deck structures were intact, including the main mast, which was sheared off by the ice when the ship sank".
Franklin was on his fourth trip to the Arctic when his team vanished.
His wife urged the Admiralty to send a search party in 1847, but the government delayed it for another year.
Canada's government launched the 2008 search in a bid to establish sovereignty over the disputed waters of the Northwest Passage, where meting polar ice has now opened up the shipping route that Sir John and his team were seeking.
Meanwhile, according to the Daily Mail, a cruise line is offering daring (and rich) travellers the chance to traverse the Northwest Passage, the same route connecting the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
In 2016, the Crystal Serenity will take 900 passengers on the largest expedition through the Northwest Passage ever made. But it will cost a pretty penny, setting passengers back between £12,500 and £93,000.
15 cruise deals for 2015
British shipwreck found in Arctic 170 years after it vanished
Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas, sister ship to Quantum of the Seas, is set to be just as all-singing and all-dancing, featuring bumper cars, Jamie’s Italian (as in Oliver) and more, as well as a strong emphasis on all things musical. Cruise deal: An eight-night cruise on Anthem of the Seas, departing 22 April 2015, starts at £899pp. royalcaribbean.co.uk.
River cruising is one of the hottest travel trends right now. Because they’re smaller, river ships can take you right into the heart of the action; plus there are frequent stops. Perhaps the most intriguing destination for 2015 is Burma, with its glittering temples and ancient traditions. Now’s the time to go, before the big high-rise hotels move in. Cruise deal: Uniworld's 17-day Timeless Wonders of Vietnam, Cambodia & The Mekong costs from £4,099pp, including all meals, alcohol and return flights. titantravel.co.uk.
Staff catering to your every whim, gourmet dinners, white fluffy robes to watch the sunset from your balcony: a cruise gives you a taste of the high life at a fraction of the cost of luxury hotels, and more and more cruise lines are offering extra flourishes to entice you. Cruise deal: Book a Celebrity Cruises holiday between 1 August and 30 September 2014 on selected worldwide sailings and receive a free upgrade to a room with a private balcony and flights from just £49, including transfers. Guests sailing out of Southampton will also receive a complimentary classic drinks package worth up to $1,400, free car parking at the port or a complimentary private chauffeur driven journey to the ship when booking a suite. celebritycruises.co.uk.
If you’ve been longing to visit Cuba then 2015 is definitely the year to go: big changes are afoot and it won't be long before it's completely commercialised. Thomson’s Cuban Fusion itinerary includes two full days in Havana, as well as Caribbean ports of call including Montego Bay. Cruise deal: A seven-night Cuban Fusion cruise, departing January 2015 from Montego Bay, starts at £1080pp, including return flights and transfers thomson.co.uk.
There's no doubt that one of the best ways to look for the aurora borealis is from a cruise ship. Go in January, February or March, when the air is crisp and the nights are clear, and you’re pretty much guaranteed a spectacular light show. Cruise deal: A return journey from Tromsø to Kirkenese and back in January 2015 costs from £575pp (based on two sharing, full board. Flights extra). Visit hurtigruten.co.uk.
Savvy cruise lines have cottoned on to the fact that we don’t just want to eat lots of food when we’re on a cruise – we want to learn how to cook it too. On Oceania Cruises’ Marina, there’s a dedicated culinary school, the Bon Appétit Culinary Center. Cruise deal: A 10-night cruise on Marina, sailing in October 2015, starts from £1949pp. A single session class in the Bon Appétit Culinary Center is $69 per person (around £45). Visit oceaniacruises.com.
Royal Princess, named by the Duchess of Cambridge last summer, and recently seen on ITV’s The Cruise Ship, makes a return to the UK in 2015. Probably one of the most glamorous ships afloat, it includes a fabulous spa and adults-only area, The Sanctuary. Cruise deal: A 12-night British Isles cruise on Royal Princess, departing 21 May 2015, starts at £1,482pp. Visit princess.com.
Will P&O’s Britannia rule the waves next year? We’ll have to wait until May to find out, but this state-of-the-art ship is the biggest ever built for the British market. It features the first British cookery school at sea, run by celeb chef James Martin, as well as cuisine created by Marco Pierre White. Cruise deal: Two-night taster cruises round-trip from Southampton to Guernsey on board Britannia .From £315pp. Visit pocruises.com.
A cruise on the mighty US river from New Orleans to Memphis is one of the iconic journeys and there's no better way to experience it than on a luxurious paddle steamer. American Queen is an authentic reproduction of a traditional ship. Cruise deal: A nine-day New Orleans-Memphis holiday (seven night cruise on American Queen with one night pre-cruise hotel stay) from £2,595pp including flights, transfers, excursions, and wine with dinner. Visit lightbluetravel.co.uk.
Cruise lines are rapidly catching on to the fact that we don’t necessarily want to share (or pay full whack for a stateroom made for two). Norwegian’s Breakaway and Getaway are just two of the newer ships that cater for single cruisers with The Studios, which offer smart accommodation, including a hang-out for mingling. Cruise deal: A nine-night Eastern Caribbean fly-cruise on Norwegian Getaway starts at £1642 in April 2015, based on one person staying in The Studios. Visit ncl.co.uk.
Fancy exploring Scandinavia with Captain Mickey and co? Disney Cruise Lines returns to the UK in 2015, with Disney Magic sailing from Dover to Barcelona. Cruise deal: A seven-night cruise from Dover to Barcelona sailing in August 2015 starts at £2507.16pp. Visit disneycruise.disney.go.com.
Adventure cruising – going off the beaten track, embracing your inner Ben Fogle and getting up close (but not too close) to orcas and polar bears is for many thrill-seekers the ultimate challenge. And this is the year to do it! Cruise deal: An 11-night Classic Antarctica cruise from Chimu Adventures starts from £2,970pp. Visit chimuadventures.com.
Forget everything negative you’ve heard about cruise ship entertainment, because the stakes have been well and truly raised. Not only can you see Broadway musicals including Saturday Night Fever and Legally Blonde, but you can also go to gigs by some of the world’s best known performers (Carnival Cruise Lines boasted performances by Jennifer Hudson and Olivia Newton-John in 2014). Cruise deal: Carnival cruises offers 7-day Caribbean cruises from £339pp, excluding flights. Visit carnival.co.uk.
A brand new ocean cruise line is something to get excited about. Viking are known for their river cruises, but the first of their three ocean ships starts sailing from Norway in May 2015, promising their signature Scandinavian chic, an infinity pool and some enticing itineraries. Cruise deal: Cruises start from £1,749pp, including flights, private veranda stateroom, all meals, complimentary wine, beer and soft drinks, guided shore excursions in each port of call and free Wifi. Visit vikingoceancruises.co.uk.
2015 sees the centenary of Gallipoli, and the sinking of the passenger ship RMS Lusitania; there will be lots of commemorative events, but Cunard’s Lusitania Remembered voyage on board the elegant Queen Victoria promises to be a particularly fitting tribute. Cruise deal: The Lusitania Remembered cruise from 3-15 May 2015 starts at £879pp. For more info see cunard.co.uk