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Wednesday 7 March 2012

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Queen Elizabeth makes timely exit

Queen Elizabeth did not leave earlier than expected according to Cunard.

Reports that the luxury cruise liner, Queen Elizabeth, was forced to leave Port Douglas early to undergo customs’ clearance in Yorkey’s Knob have been denied by the ship's company, Cunard.

David Jones of Cunard's corporate affairs department said the ship adhered to its schedule despite reports that passengers were asked to re-board by 2.30pm.

"Queen Elizabeth was due to leave Port Douglas at 4pm, she actually left at 5pm and came to Yorkey's Knob which was always intended for the normal customs clearance." 

On Monday, one local business owner claimed passengers from the ship told her they were required to depart earlier than expected, while another had said day tours had been cancelled as a result.

They are claims supported by Tourism Port Douglas and Daintree executive officer, Doug Ryan, who said he also spoke to a passenger who told him they were preparing for an early departure.

"Customs wouldn't clear anyone out of Port Douglas. The ship had to steam back to Cairns and then back past Port Douglas," he said.

Mr Ryan said that a positive response was received from passengers who were greeted at the marina, with a caller to John McKenzie's AM radio show saying Cairns could learn from its northern neighbour.

Meanwhile, around 900 passengers on another cruise ship, the Arcadia, were left at Yorkey's Knob for almost two hours while buses were being organised for their transportation into Cairns.

ABC News reported that Tourism Tropical North Queensland came under fire for inadequately catering for the passenger transfers which left them with limited time in the city.

"...a lot of regular comments were that Cairns was the worst port that they'd been in, which I was very embarrassed by," tour operator Leigh Jorgensen told ABC News. 

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anthony buckley, , 08-03-12 07:34:
Daivid Jones from Cunard obviously is on another planet. I had two guests for the day travelling on the ship who finally reached the Marina at 10 am.They had been told at breakfast that they had to be back on the last tender at 3.30because of immigration and customs requirements. I couldn't for the life of me see how the two Quicksilvers could be back from the reef by then.Anyway our plans for the day required immediate adjustment but were spoilt by the news.

On returning to the Marina about 3pm a Cunard official in white uniform was urging passengers to hurry as the ship was sailing at 3.30
My friends rang from the ship at 5 45 to tell me they were still here and yes,I was right about the Quicksilvers.I gather the ship finally left at 7pm Apart from Cunard being disorganised one has to ask why Immigration and customs couldn't have travelled on the boat from Brisbane or Yorkeys Knod and driven back to Cairns.Talk about ineptitude!

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