ROYAL VISIT

Cruise ship pas­sen­gers im­pressed with Air­lie Beach

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE -

THE Whit­sun­days was the jewel in the crown for pas­sen­gers cur­rently aboard the Queen Mary 2 ac­cord­ing to feed­back re­ceived by lo­cal vol­un­teers.

The mag­nif­i­cent ves­sel, which is Cu­nard’s flag­ship, brought 2499 peo­ple to our shores when it ar­rived in Pi­o­neer Bay on Sun­day morn­ing.

Lo­cals were able to catch a glimpse of the world’s largest ocean liner from sev­eral van­tage points along the coast while the vol­un­teer am­bas­sador team were busy wel­com­ing its pas­sen­gers ashore via the Abell Point Ma­rina.

Vol­un­teer am­bas­sador co-or­di­na­tor Brian Richard­son said the feed­back from pas­sen­gers, trav­el­ling from Sin­ga­pore to Syd­ney, via China, Dar­win, Air­lie Beach and Bris­bane, was over­whelm­ingly pos­i­tive.

“They were re­ally wrapped about the whole com­mu­nity and some of them ex­pressed it was the best place they’d stopped on their whole trip,” he said.

Mr Richard­son said there was also a lot of sup­port for the am­bas­sadors and the role they played in rolling out a warm wel­come mat.

“As far as the meet and greet [ser­vice we pro­vide] they said it was just so much nicer to have peo­ple an­swer­ing ques­tions and point­ing them in the right di­rec­tion,” he said.

About 700 peo­ple went on tours in­clud­ing to the Great Bar­rier Reef and White­haven Beach, while oth­ers were happy to sim­ply ex­plore the town.

Mr Richard­son said judg­ing by the va­ri­ety of shop­ping bags brought back, lo­cal re­tail­ers should have re­ceived a sig­nif­i­cant eco­nomic boost.

“I got a lot of feed­back to say the town was flat out and all of the restau­rants were full – and we were asked a lot of ques­tions about real es­tate and ex­actly where we are in re­la­tion to Bris­bane and Cairns be­cause peo­ple are re­ally in­ter­ested in com­ing back for ex­tended hol­i­days,” he said.

Toni Ward, from Whit­sun­day Jet­ski Tours, de­scribed hav­ing the Queen Mary 2 in town as a “unique ex­pe­ri­ence”.

“There’s not many places you can take your jet- skis around a cruise ship and the Queen Mary’s just so big it’s mind-blow­ing,” she said.

“We al­ways pro­mote it to lo­cals as be­ing a rare chance to get up close and per­sonal.”

This was the fourth time the Queen Mary 2 has called into Air­lie Beach.

The next cruise ship to visit will be the Di­a­mond Princess on March 23.

Photo cour­tesy Whit­sun­day Jet­ski Tours

UP CLOSE AND PER­SONAL: UK Cou­ple Gavin Wil­liams and Danielle Smith were blown away by a cir­cuit of the Queen Mary 2 on the Whit­sun­day Jet­ski Tours 'Day­dream Ex­treme'.

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