- Monday 18 January 2016
The Sunshine Coast’s growing reputation as a cruise ship stopover destination of choice is gaining international attention.
Royal Caribbean international port and product operations manager Sheldon Thompson said the region had proven a huge hit with passengers aboard the Azamara Quest, who came ashore for a day-long visit last Sunday.
“Guests from more than 20 different nationalities were absolutely thrilled by the warm welcome from the Sunshine Coast, from the koala at the pier to the Mayor himself greeting passengers as they arrived in Mooloolaba for the first time,” Mr Thompson said.
“Guest feedback regarding the call has been excellent, particularly regarding the picture-postcard location but also the facilities, infrastructure and attractions.
“The unique surfboard-shaped plaque presented to Captain Carl Smith is set to take pride of place outside the Bridge on the ship, marking what we hope is the first of many calls for Azamara Club Cruises to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.”
Mayor Mark Jamieson said the Sunshine Coast community had put on another terrific show for its cruise ship guests.
“Our local businesses and tourism operators have done an outstanding job in recognising the fantastic opportunities these cruise ship visits present and with each arrival they’re getting better and better at showing guests a great time on the Sunshine Coast,” he Mayor Jamieson said.
“As a community, we’re absolutely thrilled to welcome cruise ships and their guests to our region and it’s wonderful to hear that passengers aboard the Azamara Quest enjoyed their maiden visit here last Sunday.
“This comes on the back of the outstanding passenger ratings the Sunshine Coast received from P&O passengers, which were the highest of any port in Australia and the South Pacific.
“The great experiences that cruise ship guests are enjoying on these one-day stopovers will ensure many of them will return for a longer stay and explore and enjoy much more of our Sunshine Coast. This is another reason why the development of our international airport is so important in giving them easy access.”
Each cruise ship stopover provides an estimated $250,000 boost to the local economy and manager-owner of the Edge Restaurant at Montville, Adele Smith, said the positive impacts were being felt right around the region.
“During the recent cruise ship stopovers we’ve experienced very busy days and a large number of our customers on those days have told us they were part of the cruise ship tour,” she said.
Mayor Jamieson said the next cruise ship stopover was due in mid-February.
“Council has worked hard to encourage and support the arrival of these cruise ships and we’re looking forward to greeting more international guests on February 13 when the MS Amsterdam drops anchor off Mooloolaba,” Mayor Jamieson said.
The MS Amsterdam is part of the Holland America Cruise Line which is part of the Carnival Group and its stopover in February will be part of a 46-night trip from Sydney to Dubai.
Another eight stopovers are scheduled for 2016. Cruise ship stopover dates for the Sunshine Coast in 2016 include:
February 13 – MS Amsterdam
March 19 – Pacific Jewel
May 11 – Pacific Jewel
June 15 – Pacific Aria
June 27 – Pacific Jewel
August 10 – Pacific Jewel
August 16 – Carnival Spirit
September 4– Pacific Pearl