24th June 2015
This month marks the first visit of Royal Caribbean ship Legend of the Seas to the Whitsundays. Docking at the Cruise Whitsundays Port of Airlie, the occasion was celebrated by an acceptance of plaques and the exchange of keys in a special ceremony welcoming the cruise ship to the Whitsundays. Attended by Cruise Whitsundays staff, Whitsunday Regional Council representatives and the boat's crew, the ceremony recognised the economic contributions the cruise ship will make to the Whitsundays.
The ship welcomed approximately 1900 passengers to town who were personally greeted by cruise ship volunteer ambassadors. Having arrived in Brisbane on June 13, Legend of the Seas made stops in Airlie Beach and Cairns as part of the journey to Singapore. The ship is set to return in December, sailing a similar route to begin her maiden Australian cruising season and the first ever Royal Caribbean sailing from Brisbane.
Legend of the Seas is said to be bringing over $24 million to the Queensland economy in 2015 and 2016. Her 17 turnarounds in Brisbane are set to attract $20.6 million while Cairns and Airlie Beach are set to receive around $1.5 million each during the ship's 5 calls there. However some acknowledged that large ship cruising wasn't for everyone and that there were plenty of other Whitsundays cruises and sailing options for those wanting to avoid cruise liners.
Throughout the Whitsundays visitors can choose from bareboat charters and adventure sailing to classic sailing, luxury sailing, tall ship adventures and even learn to sail on board yachts and catamarans of all sizes. Whilst these smaller cruise options perhaps don't offer the same amount of comfort and on board facilities of a large cruise liner, they do offer a more unique sailing experience and the chance to get up close and personal with the warm crystal waters and marine life of the Whitsundays.