Tourism Whitsundays chairman Al Grundy and chief executive officer Tash Wheeler are happy to welcome a new cruise ship to the Whitsundays.
Tourism Whitsundays chairman Al Grundy and chief executive officer Tash Wheeler are happy to welcome a new cruise ship to the Whitsundays. Shannen McDonald

Cruise ship's maiden visit brings 1200 people to Airlie

AIRLIE Beach welcomed a new cruise ship to the town for the first time on Sunday, with its more than 1000 passengers adding to the thousands of people that are introduced to the region through the sea-faring vessels each year.

MS Masdaam docked off Airlie Beach for the day on Sunday, with more than 1200 passengers onboard.

Tourism Whitsundays chairman Al Grundy said the town always liked to welcome cruise ships to the area.

"All of these cruise ships coming in give some economic boost to the town," he said.

"It gives a buzz to the town. It looks and feels busy."

In the last financial year, 55 cruise ships visited Airlie Beach, with 99,000 people onboard.

"These cruise ships can bring anywhere from 800 to 2500 people here," Mr Grundy said.

"In the quieter months they give day trip operators a boost."

Mr Grundy said visits by cruise ships to the area also had an added benefit of giving people a taste of the Whitsundays, which can convert into return visits for holidays.

"The more cruise ships we have, the more people get to know about how beautiful the area is," Mr Grundy said.

"I think the hidden benefit is people go away talking up the Whitsundays.

"Even if only a small percentage choose here for a future vacation, that's a win."

The MS Masdaam was one of two cruise ships to visit Airlie Beach on the weekend.

The Celebrity Solstice also visited on Saturday.

The arrival of the Celebrity Solstice kicked off what will be a busy nine days, with five cruise ships visiting the town.

The next will be Pacific Dawn on Thursday, October 24, Ruby Princess on Saturday, October 26, and Pacific Aria on Sunday, October 27.