The cruise ship MS Noordam docked at the Matautu wharf in Apia yesterday with hundreds of tourists disembarking to get a feel of Samoa.
The vessel and its 1877 passengers and 791 crew were welcomed by officials from the Samoa Ports Authority and the Samoa Tourism Authority, which organised cultural performances by the Saleilua Falealii group.
Most of the passengers were from America, Australia and Canada as well as other nationalities. The vessel, which has a gross ton of 82,500 and is 285 meters long, is owned by Holland America.
Tour buses, organised by Margaret and Ryan Tours who are the local shore excursion operators for Holland America Cruises, took the visitors to various scenic spots upon the berthing of the ship at 8.00 am yesterday.
Despite all shops in Apia’s central business district being shut yesterday due to the White Sunday public holiday, the closure did not stop the visitors from getting off the vessel.
Monica Fueglisger, a Swiss passenger on the cruise ship, told Samoa Observer that it was her first visit to Samoa.
“I am from Switzerland and we have been to New York and Vancouver, the trip so far has been amazing.
“The main purpose behind this trip is for a holiday. I hope to enjoy this one-day experience in Samoa and hopefully bring back home some unforgettable memories,” she said.
Swiss couple Bernard and Regula Staehli, who were also passengers on the MS Noordam, said they were quite excited to just take a brief tour.
“We have never been to Samoa before, due to the distance as we are from Switzerland.
“So far, we are enjoying our trip, so many interesting places to see and explore.
“We booked a tour so we are quite excited to have a look around Samoa,”
The passengers were also advised before they disembarked that shops would be closed due to the public holiday, according to Bernard.
The cruise liner left Apia at 5.00 pm yesterday and will get into Suva, Fiji tomorrow before heading to New Caledonia end of the week and Australia next week.