The visit to Gizo (Friday, September 30), which is the capital of Western Province, Solomon Islands, is the inaugural call to the port of P&O and the first of 2 maiden visits for Pacific Eden in the Solomon Islands during the week.
When Pacific Eden berthed at Honiara yesterday, she also became the first cruise ship – and the largest vessel – to call at the new Honiara City wharf.
P&O Cruises President Sture Myrmell thanked the City of Gizo community for the special welcome for Pacific Eden’s 1500 guests. Prior to P&O’s call, only smaller expedition style ships have visited the city.
“Pacific Eden has the honour of being the largest cruise ship and the first P&O vessel to visit the City of Gizo – a major event for the community,” Mr Myrmell said.
“Our ship’s tenders were greeted and escorted to shore by a traditional war “tomoko” canoe, paddled by 26 locals.
“The main road was closed to create a pedestrian walk and lined with traditional arts and crafts stalls staffed by locals, including wood carvers from all over the Western Province who came to the city to sell handcrafted souvenirs.
“There were also locals selling fresh coconuts and entertainers showcasing the area’s cultural dancing and music." Mr Myrmell said.
Pacific Eden, which is on a 10-day voyage to ports in Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands from Cairns, will visit Honiara today, becoming the first cruise ship and also the largest vessel to call at the new wharf in Honiara Port.
P&O will host a special lunch onboard Pacific Eden for members of the Solomon Islands Government, the community and Australia’s High Commissioner to the Solomon Islands, Andrew Byrne.
Pacific Eden will return to Gizo and Honiara at the end of October. She will make a further three visits to Solomon Islands in 2017.
In total, there will be 7 ships under the Carnival Australia umbrella that have called in Honiara this year. In addition to P&O Cruises’ two visits, Princess Cruises has made four calls while Seabourn has also made one visit.
A July 2016 study showed cruise industry contributed about USD 640,000 to the Solomon Islands economy each year in direct and indirect impact.