Cruise ship passengers impressed with Airlie Beach
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.
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'.