THE East London port was abuzz with excitement yesterday morning when an international luxury liner docked.
About 300 passengers from various parts of the world on board Quest for Adventure were eager to see what Buffalo City had to offer.
The ship left Cape Town on February 16 and sailed for Maputo, Mozambique, later yesterday.
Speaking for the ports authority, Jacqueline Brown said they welcomed the visit by the ship as it was a good opportunity to market the city to hundreds of international visitors.
“Tourists can go back home and share positive stories.
“This means they might return for longer vacations or it might spark interest among friends and family back home,” she said, adding that tourism always generated handsome revenue for the city.
The trip has been organised by Akorn destination management, a group of experienced tour guides, with over 25 offices worldwide.
Working alongside local tour guides, they organised for the tourists to visit Inkwekwezi Game Reserve, Mpongo Park and the Khaya la bantu Xhosa cultural village. Akorn tour manager Claudia Utech said trips like this were planned a year in advance and that excursions are often part of the packages offered. Docking for the first time in East London, Quest for Adventure measures just over 164m in length and weighs some 18 500 tons.
She was built about 28 years ago and was known as the Saga Pearl II but was renamed in May last year.
Her facilities include a well- equipped gym, a spa, two swimming pools, a cinema and a library. The ship has three restaurants, which cater for all preferences.
Brown said the port had welcomed “a few cruise ships” this year but would be handing over a special plaque to Quest for Adventure.
“We are handing over a plaque as a token of appreciation for their maiden call to East London,” he said.