Almost 100 tall ships are moored on the Tyne, marking the start of four days of festivals and events.
The tall ships are expected to attract thousands of visitors
The fleet of 105 traditional vessels, taking part in the Tyneside leg of the Tall Ships Race, should all have arrived by Monday afternoon.
Already the public are flocking to the Newcastle and Gateshead Quaysides, to visit the vessels before they set sail for Fredrikstad in Norway on Thursday.
Their visit will be marked by music, entertainment and fireworks.
Tyneside has hosted the Tall Ships Race in 1986 and 1993, but organisers said the 2005 event promises to be the most spectacular yet, with ships moored at Newcastle and Gateshead.
The fleet also includes a possible world record of 28 Class A vessels, magnificent, square rigged sailing ships.
During the visit there will be a number of events culminating in the Parade of Sail on Thursday, when the ships sail out to sea and line up for the start of the race.
On Tuesday more than 3,000 crew from over 20 countries will join a special parade on the quayside.
A multi-media event is due to take place on Wednesday evening, with giant film projections, aerial performers, a specially commissioned soundtrack and a massive firework display.
Visitors are being urged to use public transport, as the quayside will be closed to traffic. Park and ride services are operating from five locations.
The event is expected to provide a major boost to the region's economy.
Phil Payne, tall ships manager for Newcastle/Gateshead said: "In 1993 surveys found the event attracted £38m worth of spend, so with inflation we are looking for it to bring £50m to the regional economy."