ARRIVING MONDAY: The cruise ship Queen Victoria, anchored in Pioneer Bay on her first visit to the Whitsundays in 2013.
ARRIVING MONDAY: The cruise ship Queen Victoria, anchored in Pioneer Bay on her first visit to the Whitsundays in 2013. Contributed

Sneak peek at top tier cruise ship in the Whitsundays

IT'S 294m long, holds 2061 passengers and takes 981 crew to run.

If you notice a particularly swanky cruise liner moored in Pioneer Bay on Monday, it's not a mirage but luxury holiday company Cunard's Queen Victoria.

The Whitsundays is the only regional centre Cunard's top-tier ship will visit in Australia.

Cruise specialist at I Love Cruising Michael Geraghty took a "sneak peek" at the ship in Brisbane earlier this week.

"The highlight for me of Queen Victoria is what I would describe as the space," Mr Geraghty said.

"It's just got an abundance of space on board, that you don't get on other ships."

Mr Geraghty has been on 34 cruises, his first in 2009.

"Cunard is in the top end of our local sailing. It's got an ambience to it - luxury but not as stuffy, I guess," he said.

Cunard had a reputation for requiring high dress standards, Mr Geraghty said, but he had found them to be relaxed and reasonable when he sailed on Cunard's Queen Mary 2 last year.

"It's a different cruise experience to the mainstream," he said.

Passengers on the Queen Victoria boarded in England for a 107-night trip.

They will be greeted by Whitsunday locals on their arrival at Airlie Beach.

Brian Richardson is one of 20 local Volunteer Cruise Ship Ambassadors who will welcome the visitors, direct them to services and amenities and answer questions about the region.

"These people have left England, and they've gone all through America, and all over the place," Mr Richardson said.

"From New Zealand they do Sydney, Brisbane, Airlie Beach, Darwin and head back towards England again."

Cruise ship passengers usually stay on land from about 7am-3pm, with many visiting local businesses, enjoying local attractions, or going on tours.

Mr Richardson said he and other volunteers who greet cruise ship visitors "get a real buzz" out of the work.

"Honestly, every one of the ambassadors will say the same, we do it because we love the Whitsundays," he said. "We love the area. We're doing it to support the area and to promote tourism.

"We should recognise that we're the only regional centre that this ship is coming into. It comes to Brisbane, Airlie Beach then Darwin.

"We're the only regional centre that these things pull into."

To join Volunteer Cruise Ship Ambassadors call Mr Richardson on 0400985760 or email airliebeachambassadors@gmail.com



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