Departing liner puts big dent in economy
MILLIONS of dollars in tourism and maintenance contracts will sail away when Pacific Eden makes her final departure from Cairns today.
The P&O cruise ship has been homeported in Cairns since September 2016.
Last year it made 11 visits to Cairns, with nine this year, each time commanding a capacity of 1260 passengers and 560 crew.
Wharf One Cafe owner Will Nevile said the economic benefits of having a homeport contract in place could not be overstated - particularly for his dock-front business.
"That ship was clearly high value to Cairns," he said.
"The timing of the load and unload meant you literally had 3000 people in town that were waiting for their hotel check-in at 2pm or to board at 4pm.
"There's a ripper time period where they've got nowhere to go, so they go into town and spread the love."
Ports North chairman Russell Beer said the 219m-long Eden would dock in Cairns at 7am today and weigh anchor for Townsville at 4pm before leaving the P&O fleet in April next year.
"Pacific Eden began homeporting in Cairns in 2016 giving us the opportunity to showcase the Port of Cairns' operational capabilities," Ports North Chairman Russell Beer said.
"We had seamless turnarounds which, by 2017, were the fastest per capita of any port in the country.
"Our reputation is now locked in with the cruise shipping industry and we are ready for homeporting opportunities into the future."