|Cruise ship arriving at Kingston, Norfolk Island|
Cynthia kindly agreed to answer some of my questions about cruises to Norfolk Island port of call.
W: When did planning start for the return of cruise ships to the island?
C: Planning started around two years ago when our then Minister of Finance was contacted by P&O cruises. Offering an extra port of call would be an added attraction on a Pacific cruise.
W: What preparations did Norfolk Island have to make?
C: Once Norfolk Island was nominated as a port of call, committees were formed to deal with various issues. One of these was transport, to ensure there were enough buses to carry the passengers in an efficient and timely fashion from the pier to the town. Another committee discussed what food preparation would be needed for passengers while on shore. Another issue was toilets; two portaloos were put in the centre of town on cruise days and all the clubs opened their doors for comfort stops. A pontoon was constructed for use at Cascade to get passengers ashore from the ship's tenders, but it has proved not to be successful in inclement weather.
W: What extra things did Norfolk Island plan for the cruise visits, apart from the impressive range of shore tours?
C: On cruise days, stalls are set up in town selling a myriad of items: woodcarvings, home-made sea salt, home-made guava jelly, Norfolk themed cards, baked goods and woven Norfolk Island style hats. This array of stalls all adds to the town's lively atmosphere.
W: I know that landing on Norfolk Island is very weather dependent and some cruise visits have been cancelled, to the disappointment of locals and passengers alike. What have been the highlights of the successful cruise visits?
C: The influx of almost 2000 people arriving on the island at once from a cruise ship is massive in economic terms. Everyone is excited to see the town buzzing with people and it is a boost to morale when we see the streets pumping with passengers. Most of the locals are involved in some way or other on cruise days and their friendly demeanour is always remarked upon by tourists. Shopping is a highlight for cruise passengers; finding souvenirs is a must for many. Locals go out of their ways to assist our visitors to ensure they leave our shores with pleasant memories and more.
W: When is the next scheduled cruise ship visit?
C: The next ship to call is the 'Pacific Pearl' due at Norfolk Island on June 19, 2011.
I'd like to thank Cynthia for giving us this 'behind the scenes' look at Norfolk Island as a cruise port. Thanks also to Richard and Linda Chapman for the photo taken from Flagstaff Hill looking down at the cruise ship and tender arriving at Kingston.