AN EXCHANGE of keys and acceptance of plaques marked the first visit for Royal Caribbean ship Legend of the Seas late Monday morning.
The cruise ship pulled into Whitsunday waters and made use of the Cruise Whitsundays Port of Airlie terminal for its passengers’ journey to land.
After about 1900 passengers had disembarked, the boat’s crew joined with representatives from Whitsunday Regional Council and staff from Cruise Whitsundays for a special ceremony welcoming the ship to town.
The ceremony was addressed by Cruise Whitsundays CEO Nick Hortle and council’s deputy mayor Andrew Willcox, both of whom beamed with pride.
“We want them to come back as often as possible,” Cr Willcox said.
“We’ve got a long-term relationship with Royal Caribbean; they are a fantastic cruise company,” Mr Hortle added.
“We like getting their guests on board, taking them through our new terminal and also having them out on our day tours.”
Cr Willcox also acknowledged the selfless work of the cruise ship volunteer ambassadors who personally welcome every cruise ship and its guests to town.
Legend of the Seas arrived in Brisbane on June 13 and called into Airlie Beach and Cairns as part of her repositioning cruise to Singapore.
She’ll return in December, sailing a very similar route to kick off her maiden Australian season and Royal Caribbean’s first ever season sailing from Brisbane.
“Legend of the Seas will bring more than $24 million into the Queensland economy in 2015 and 2016, including more than $20.6 million to Brisbane during 17 turnarounds, $1.5 million to Cairns and $1.5 million to Airlie Beach during her five calls,” Royal Caribbean Australia commercial director Sean Treacy said.
For Legend of the Seas Captain Arild Hansen it was his first time in Australia.
“It looks very beautiful so far,” he said.
Cruise Ship Volunteer Ambassador co-ordinator Brian Richardson, said this was a busy week for his merry band when Sun Princess also arrived on Tuesday.
Sun Princess brought 1986 passengers with 1600 heading into town and 360 on tours.
Another two cruise ships are due on June 23 and 29.