Queen Elizabeth draws a crowd
THE world’s second-largest luxury ocean liner sailed into Port Douglas waters on Sunday night for a one-day stopover which injected some life into businesses that targeted the well-heeled passengers.
While operations like Quicksilver which sells its tours through the onboard tour desk scooped a private charter for 380 passengers for a trip to the outer reef tailored to meet the Queen Elizabeth tender times, tour desks reported little extra business as local day trips leave too early to take visiting cruise passengers and get back too late.
Tour operator Skysafari fared better, picking up 20 passengers for scenic flights to the reef and the rainforest after setting up their desk at the marina to greet incoming passengers.
Owner Za Harricharan said Skysafari does not sell through the onboard tour desk of cruise ships which demand a 30 per cent commission but noticed the Queen Elizabeth passengers were “worldly”.
“There were French, Italians, English, Australians and Americans,” she said.
“We had both our aircraft up and more of the passengers were taking our top tours compared with mostly joy flights for some other cruise ships.”
Shopkeepers along Macrossan St reported an increase in the number of visitors cruising the street but little increase in trade.
Port Douglas Opal and Jewellery Centre owner Con Retsas said there were plenty of passengers browsing around.
“But few came in to buy - I think it’s a sign of the times,” he said.