BISMARCK-A Friends and Family Cruise is being offered on board USNS City of Bismarck on April 7, leaving from the U.S. Naval Base in Norfolk, Va.

Tours of other Navy ships will be made available April 6.

"This is a great opportunity for people to take a short cruise on our new ship. We are very excited about this opportunity," said Bob Wefald, chairman of the USNS City of Bismarck Committee.

The cruise will involve a one-day trip out to sea for passengers to observe the capabilities of this new high-speed transport capable of 45 knot/49 mph designed to move troops and equipment in a theater of operations.

The vessel, which was christened May 13 at Austal Shipyards in Mobile, Ala., will have a civilian crew of 24 and be able to carry 312 troops and all their equipment. It is also capable of landing the Navy's largest helicopter. It is powered by four diesel engines driving water jets. It displaces 1,515 tons of sea water. It is 337 feet long, 93 feet 6 inches wide with a draft of 12 feet 7 inches.