ANOTHER year has wrapped up for the Whitsunday cruise ship volunteer ambassadors who welcomed a surprise extra ship yesterday.
Volunteer ambassador co-ordinator Judi Dunn said apparently sea conditions were too rough to tender passengers into Cairns or Port Douglas, so the Pacific Dawn decided to head to Airlie Beach, arriving yesterday, December 18.
A total of seven ships have visited the Whitsundays in the past six weeks with 11,765 passengers and crew coming ashore. Of this number 10,440 visited Airlie Beach and 2,387 booked tours.
Ms Dunn said this was a great boost to the local economy before Christmas.
For 2013 overall, the total number of cruise ships calling into the Whitsundays was 33, bringing a total of 48,967 passengers and crew. About 41,336 people visited Airlie Beach and 14,057 booked tours.
Ms Dunn said the schedule for 2014 was yet to be confirmed but well over 40 ships were expected to visit over the next 12 months. The first ship for the year is Rhapsody of the Sea, which will arrive on January 1, followed by further ships on January 16, 20 and 23.
Meanwhile the volunteer ambassadors are looking forward to a well-earned break and will celebrate their Christmas party, this Saturday, at Paddons marina cafe.