Eden's feeling cruisy!
Cruise ship the Pacific Pearl arrived in Twofold Bay on Sunday, welcomed by stunning weather and friendly smiles.
David Jones, corporate communications manager for Carnival Australia, said "these are exciting times for us."
"We are actually expanding to a five ship fleet, so as of November this year we add Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden to the P&O Cruise's fleet."
"This is the first of 5 calls to Eden for P&O and the other exciting part is that within weeks of Pacific Eden becoming part of the fleet, she'll be visiting Eden. So Pacific Eden is coming!" he said.
Representatives from the cruise ship, Gemma Gregory-Jones, cruise director, Roland Ringwald, hotel director, and David Jones, corporate communications manager, were welcomed onto the Breakwater Wharf by Andrew Constance, member for Bega, and Natalie Godward from Cruise Eden.
Mr Constance said this was a game changer for Eden and for the whole region and for our tourism sector, because it puts Eden on the map, globally and more so domestically.
"I think once the commercial wharf extension happens and the facilities are at the level that we all want to see, it's going to make the cruise industry take note of what a wonderful spot it is for tourists. So we're very excited about it," Mr Constance said.
"And to Cruise Eden, the work you've done to bring this about has just been sensational," Mr Constance added.
"We're really grateful to P&O and Carnival (Australia) for coming and choosing our wonderful part of the world. Anyone who's standing here today can see what a gem this is."
The cruise ship arrived with less passengers onboard - about 1600 - than initially anticipated.
But what was surprising and pleasing was the big number of passengers who disembarked in Eden.
"We had less people than we thought going on tours, so we ended up with four to five hundred passengers on tours and the rest went into Eden," Ms Godward said.
"That's about 1100 people walking around the streets of Eden."
Ms Godward said they expected passengers to arrive in a staggered fashion, with passengers going on tours to disembark first and then afterwards the remaining others to disembark and enjoy the town.
However, this didn't happen , as they all arrived together so there were some logistical issues such as a lack of seating and shelter.
Ms Godward said the day was "overall an outstanding success", with a few lessons to be learnt from dealing with the big volume of people.
Despite the minor issues the passengers and the town were buzzing with excitement.
HSC students from the Eden region enrolled in Certificate III in Tourism at Bega Tafe conducted meet and greets on the Breakwater Wharf and tours.
Debbie Meers, spokesperson for Cruise Eden, said many of the passengers told her and other staff members that they loved being welcomed in by the young students.
"They said they loved the town and especially loved the Seahorse Inn and how picturesque Eden is," Ms Meers said, "it was a huge day."
The 63,875-tonne ship was a sight to behold anchored in the harbour but it was the sights on board that really proved a treat.
Onboard were several large multipurpose swimming pools; decks for bathing and lounging; bars in all different themes, styles and moods; over five restaurants including award winning chef Luke Mangan's Saltgrill; spas, theatres, art galleries, dancefloors, karaoke facilities and much more.
Pacific Pearl tourguide William Jones gave a bevvy of Eden volunteers and media personnel the full tour of the colossal cruise ship.
"Pacific Pearl is a family friendly ship but there are always children safety areas and adult-only areas. There's entertainment for all ages that runs around the clock," Mr Jones said.
Businesses buzzing after Pearl's stopover
The Pacific Pearl's 1600 passengers were greeted by a diverse range of local stalls when they reached the Breakwater Wharf on Sunday.
Stalls included the Eden Gateway Visitor Information Centre , Tulgeen Disability Services, Bally Park Goats Milk Soap, Dee Jee's Photography, Eden Killer Whale Museum, The Nest of Pambula, and the Sapphire Marine Discovery Centre,
Fran Crispin, who volunteered at the stall all day, said they'd been very busy and sold many products.
"It's been a great atmosphere. We had very good sales very early on. And it's been such a nice (weather) day," she said.
Annie Chandler and Paul Spiteri from Tulgeen Disability Services had made some sales but expected people to buy most of their wares on the way back from town.
Scott Ballantyne from Bally Park Goats Milk Soap said he'd made quite a few sales.
"Bally Park is growing all the time with product distribution spanning from Sydney to Canberra, to the Blue Mountains and all the way through to Bendigo and Dubbo," Mr Ballantyne said.
The Bally Park stall had many products on offer such as hand and body creams, soap and many other body products.
Volunteer Anna Goeldner represented the Sapphire Coast Marine Discovery Centre with an informative stall.
Glen and Dennie Deejee had a photography stall set up with exquisite natural photos taken from Wollongong all the way down to Eden.
Mr Deejee said there had been a few interested parties but because the items were large they would probably buy on the way back.
Susie Sarah was volunteering at the Eden Killer Whale Museum stall selling a wide array of books and memorabilia.
"We've had lots of book sales, not just from what's happening here (cruise ship passengers) but from tourists who are in the area, from Brisbane and Queensland," she said.
Kate and Rebecca of The Nest of Pambula also had a stall on the wharf selling their sought-after jewellery, which seemed to be selling many products.
The Nest of Pambula have over 100 shops that sell their products throughout Australia as well as actors having worn their brand on Home and Away.
Debbie Meers of Cruise Eden said that 1600 cruise passengers also went shopping in the street of Eden and there were massive lines for different shops.
Toni Ward of Simply Irrestible recorded a very profitable day with wall to wall people.
"We've had so many sales, it's been amazing, absolutely amazing," Ms Ward said.
Graham White from Cuppas Cafe said, "It's been the best boat we've had in. We have good days on Sundays anyway with the local people but we have sold a lot of scones and cakes and tea today."
Karen Lott from Sprout Cafe also recorded many cake and tea sales on Sunday.
The day was serenaded by Nethercote musician Mia Soroka's originals and covers on her guitar and keyboard.