Passengers from the Sunshine Coast’s first-ever cruise ship visit are likely to be disembarking to visit Coast tourist spots from about 8am on Saturday.
The Pacific Pearl, operated by P&O Cruises, will anchor early Saturday morning about one kilometre offshore from Mooloolaba carrying a full complement of 1800 passengers on a four-day cruise from Sydney.
The Sunshine Coast is welcoming Pacific Pearl’s arrival with a “Paddle to the Pearl” stand-up paddle and outrigger boat race from Mooloolaba Beach opposite the Yacht Club to the ship and back, with other races in the same waters taking place all day.
P&O Cruises’ senior vice president Tammy Marshall will be joined by Mayor Mark Jamieson on the beach to officially start the main race at 8am, and looks forward to meeting many Sunshine Coast residents enjoying the festivities.
“I am looking forward to being on the beach to start the race as Pacific Pearl’s tender boats bring the first groups of passengers to The Wharf,” she said.
“This is a special day for P&O Cruises, as it is for the Sunshine Coast, and we have been overwhelmed by the Coast community’s enthusiasm for Pacific Pearl’s inaugural visit.
“Pacific Pearl is arriving with a full complement of 1800 passengers and a crew of more than 700 who couldn’t be more excited about adding a new destination to P&O Cruises’ repertoire.
“All the high profile activities along the Mooloolaba seafront have heightened the sense of occasion conveying a strong sense that Pacific Pearl is making local tourism history.”
Mayor Mark Jamieson said Saturday would mark a historic moment for the Sunshine Coast.
“We will welcome the first-ever cruise ship to Mooloolaba and the Coast, with passenger numbers the equivalent of more than three A380 or Dreamliner super-jets arriving at our airport,” he said.
“This will give businesses on the Sunshine Coast a great economic boost.
“I would also like to encourage everyone to come down to Mooloolaba to enjoy the atmosphere and give our visitors a big welcome.”
Passengers will receive a Mooloolaba “passport” as they disembark at The Wharf, where they will have the choice of organised tours to a number of Coast tourism locations, enjoying a day exploring the Coast’s many attractions, or simply take a short walk to Mooloolaba Beach and Esplanade, the Mayor said.