THE FIRST Virgin cruise ship docked in the Whitsundays, on Friday (December 1) with a plaque ceremony to mark the occasion.
Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Julie Hall and council personnel turned out to welcome the crew off the ship, along with the Cruise Ship Ambassadors, at the Cruise Whitsundays Maritime Terminal.
A smoking ceremony, performed by Yooribaya Cultural Experiences, started proceedings.
Mayor Julie Hall then presented Virgin Voyages general manager Andrew Eglin with a plaque commemorating the significant occasion.
Mayor Julie Hall said it was exciting to welcome the first Virgin cruise ship to the Whitsundays.
“It was an honour to present the Virgin Resilient Lady captain with a plaque, on Friday, to commemorate their maiden visit with almost 3,000 passengers and over 1,100 crew on board,” she said.
“The cruise ship was given a special acknowledgment with a smoke ceremony and the Cruise Whitsundays team joined our amazing Volunteer Cruise Ship Ambassadors to welcome guests with a cheerful Whitsundays welcome.
“Adding to the regular cruise ships arrivals at Port of Airlie, our Shute Harbour Marine Terminal is also kicking goals and will host 17 cruise ship visits over the Christmas-New Year period.
“On Wednesday, we will welcome another ship on its first visit to Whitsunday waters when Celebrity Edge – with 2,900 passengers and 1,200 crew – docks at Shute Harbour,” Mayor Hall said.
“The economic impact of both Port of Airlie and our Shute Harbour terminal is far-reaching and will help transform our region going forward.
“It not only provides opportunities for local businesses to flourish but also opens doors to creating jobs for locals, economic growth, and investment for our Whitsunday region.”
Virgin Voyages newest cruise ship, Resilient Lady, had made the 44-day trek from her summer home, in Athens, Greece, to her new winter home in Melbourne, Australia, via the Whitsundays.
Virgin Voyages’ CEO Nirmal Saverimuttu said it was an exciting time for the company.
“We started this incredible journey in Athens and, after weeks at sea, we’re so excited to bring the ship to the Whitsundays,” he said.
“It’s one of the most iconic places in Australia and a signature stop on our Seachange Series voyages. We can’t wait to return!”