‘We’re definitely coming back’: Geraldton wows Azamara Quest cruise ship passengers

Francesca MannGeraldton Guardian
Azamara Quest passenger Alain Alem from France poses with a snake and Greenough Wildlife Park manager Michelle Jones during a special Australiana event at the Mid West Ports Authority.
Camera IconAzamara Quest passenger Alain Alem from France poses with a snake and Greenough Wildlife Park manager Michelle Jones during a special Australiana event at the Mid West Ports Authority. Credit: Francesca Mann, The Geraldton Guardian

A maintenance shed at the Geraldton Port may seem like the unlikely destination to showcase the Mid West, but that was exactly where cruise ship passengers found themselves on Monday night.

The Azamara Quest docked in Geraldton around 1pm and left about 5pm the next day – the first cruise ship to stay overnight.

To welcome the 541 passengers and 405 crew, the Mid West Ports Authority joined forces with the City of Greater Geraldton and Tourism WA to host a special event showcasing food, businesses and entertainment from the region.

Mid West Ports Authority chief executive Rochelle MacDonald said the event showcased what Geraldton and the Mid West had to offer.

“Geraldton is a gateway for tourism,” she said.

“We want to facilitate local tourism so businesses can benefit from what we bring into the port … and make a sustainable difference to Geraldton.”

Around 200 people attended a special event inside a maintenance shed at the Geraldton Port, showcasing what the Mid West has on offer.
Camera IconAround 200 people attended a special event inside a maintenance shed at the Geraldton Port, showcasing what the Mid West has on offer. Credit: Francesca Mann, The Geraldton Guardian

More than 200 people attended the event, which was opened with a welcome to country by Donna Ronan and didgeridoo player Leroy Shiosaki – who received a loud cheer for his performance.

Geraldton singer-songwriter Jasmine Gannaway serenaded the crowd while speed-painter Phil Doncon mesmerised everyone with each flick of his brush.

Passengers were especially captivated by an array of native animals from the Greenough Wildlife Park, many posing for a quick photo with a snake.

Howard Davies from Hunter Valley, New South Wales, said the event was a “brilliant idea”, while his wife, Elizabeth, remarked on how much she enjoyed exploring Geraldton.

“It’s so accessible and the people are so warm and welcoming,” she said.

“And the cleanliness is so amazing.”

The cruise pit stop was the first time French residents Alain and Sadia Alem had been to Geraldton.

“It’s great, so beautiful – we’re definitely coming back,” Mr Alem said.

“It looks authentic and I like the history … and everyone is so hospitable and relaxed.”

The next cruise ship, Seabourn Sojourn, will arrive on December 28.

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