(10:05 a.m. EDT) -- Good news for the 6.7 million would-be cruisers in Stansted Airport's catchment area of north and east London, Essex, Hertfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Suffolk and Norfolk: Royal Caribbean has announced a new weekly charter flight from Stansted to Venice.
The service will be operated by British Airways and connect to 12 seven-night Adriatic cruises this summer on the 3,114-passenger, 137,308-ton Voyager of the Seas.
Stansted is considered by many to be the poor relation of London's airports, associated more with low-cost Ryanair flights to unpronounceable East European destinations. Prior to this new charter, Royal Caribbean passengers in the London area could only choose between Gatwick and Heathrow, both of which are a long trek for anybody living in the east of the country.
The only other line to offer charters from Stansted to join Mediterranean cruises is Thomson; in the south of England, all the other big lines only use Heathrow and Gatwick.
--by Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor