PASSENGERS aboard the P&O cruise ship Pacific Pearl visiting Mornington and the peninsula on Tuesday 24 February will get a warm welcome: members of the town’s chamber of commerce will be at the pier to greet them.
The visitors will receive local tourism information and advice on nearby places of interest. Chamber staff will coax them into seeing the town’s sites and encourage them to dawdle up and down local streets taking in the scenery and atmosphere while, hopefully, spending money.
The ship’s captain and crew will even be invited to a civic reception at The Rocks Restaurant in Schnapper Point Drive.
The harbour town has been chosen as one of three regional ports on the iconic company’s new regional tourism itinerary. The Pacific Pearl visit is part of an eight-night cruise departing Sydney on Saturday 21 February and calling at Eden, Mornington, Portland and Kangaroo Island.
The 63,786 tonne ship is due to arrive at 9am and leave at 6pm for Portland, which is also a maiden call. It carries 1800 passengers.
“Most passengers choose to do-it-themselves rather than take organised tours and we’ll be there to show them what’s on in the town,” chamber marketing and promotions manager Kim Rowe said.
“Cruise lines don’t provide any real context about the towns they visit and so we’ll be there to provide it.
“We are certainly lucky they are docking here and we are going to make the most of it.”
The street will have a party atmosphere with an open air market between Barkley and Cromwell streets selling local, non-perishable produce, such as honey, chutneys and spices, as well as handcrafted goods and souvenirs. There will be live music, stilt walkers, Navy band, and an Instagram board where passengers can connect to social media. Traders will offer ‘passenger specials’.
The Grand Hotel is providing two busses to ferry passengers along Main St – and maybe have a drink or two at the bar during the day.
Leveraging off the P&O brand theme: Never a dull moment, the chamber is saying: ‘Never a dull moment – in Mornington’.
This Tuesday market will not affect the traditional Wednesday Main St market, which will go ahead as usual.
The whole peninsula is set to benefit from a splurge in tourist dollars with Carnival Cruise lines arranging assorted tours, such as Mornington Explorer bus trips, relaxing at Peninsula Hot Springs, enjoying a tipple at Red Hill Estate and Green Olive, a Horseback Winery Adventure, drink at T’Gallant Winemakers, visiting Enchanted Adventure Garden, stand up paddle boarding, Sorrento dolphin swim, snorkelling with sea dragons, dolphin sanctuary kayaking, Mornington fishing experience, and sand sculpting at Frankston.