Majestic liner brings tourist boon to Bay

MAJESTIC: The luxury Cunard liner MS Queen Elizabeth at the Port of Port Elizabeth
Picture: EUGENE COETZEE

Hundreds of passengers disembark to see city sights

The RMS Queen Elizabeth docked in Port Elizabeth yesterday, with hundreds of tourists exploring the city’s attractions. The 90 901-ton ship – 294m in length and 32.3m in width – docked in the city after leaving Reunion Island at the weekend.

It was scheduled to set sail from the Port of Port Elizabeth late last night for Cape Town.

Transnet port manager, Rajesh Dana, said the stopover was a boost for Nelson Mandela Bay’s economy.

“The arrival of the ship gives the port authority a unique opportunity of showcasing not only its worldclass infrastructure [but] it allows the city to benefit from the economic spin-offs of having international visitors on our shores.”

Dana said all the passengers planned on doing city tours.

“This is a huge boost for our economy. It positions the city well for its future tourism objectives,” he said.

The 16-deck ocean liner is capable of carrying up to 2 092 passengers. Japanese national Reina Saiki said he boarded the ocean liner in his country and was filming the voyage for a TV company with a production crew.

“We’re filming the whole experience. We’ve been on the ship for about 26 days and it’s the crew’s first time cruising.

“We’re here for work but we’re enjoying all the activities. We can’t wait to explore, especially because it’s my first time in South Africa,” Saiki said.

Australian citizen Gail Edwards, who emigrated from South Africa and has not been home in decades, described her homecoming yesterday as emotional.

“I live in Australia but I’m from South Africa originally. I haven’t been home in a very long time and this is a very emotional experience for me.

“I brought my mom and dad and husband and they are experiencing South Africa for the first time,” she said.

Spain national Alberton Lisnier said he hoped to learn a bit of the local language. “It’s our first time in Port Elizabeth. I’ve come with my wife and we can’t wait to learn about the history of this place.”

The ship was built in Italy between 2007 and 2010.

The Vista-class cruise ship, owned by the Cunard line, was officially named by Queen Elizabeth II in Southampton on October 11 2010. It set sail on its maiden voyage to the Canary Islands the following day.

The ship offers guests the use of a casino, cinema, theatre, ballroom, three main restaurants and a spa.

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