The MS Noordam just off the coast of Rarotonga on Saturday. PHOTO JOANNE HOLDEN/23102901
Rarotonga was bustling on Saturday with a visiting cruise ship and a Rugby World Cup final.
As the All Blacks were narrowly outclassed by the Springboks
11-12, a sizeable crowd gathered at Punanga Nui Market in Avarua to view the
game on a big screen.
Numbers continued to swell as passengers from the MS Noordam
made their way to the market and around the island during the course of the
Operators on Rarotonga welcomed the influx of visitors.
“Saturday was a great day and very busy for our services
trying to cater for a what is already a busy day of the week with the markets,
and then the visitors from the ship,” Danny Cook of Cooks’ Island Bus Passenger
“A typical Saturday would see us with four buses operating
from 7am to 10pm. With the cruise ship staying in yesterday we had all hands on
deck with all our available buses being sent out to cater for the ship visitors
and visitors staying locally.”
Cook said his team are usually notified of an arriving
cruise ship in advance through various channels, as well as direct contact from
passengers on the cruise ships.
“Most of the time we will work with the local ship agent
which has direct contact with cruise ship company.
“The local agent will usually confirm with the ship the
available services on the island before docking, one of the most important
being our service.
“Apart from that there is just the tourism information staff
at the harbour on the days.”
Cook said his team are expecting a couple more ships this
Cook Islands Tourism
Industry Council president Liana
Scott said the MS Noordam looked super impressive and was pleased to
hear guests could come off the vessel and experience Rarotonga while contributing
to the economy through spending.
“Often tours and activities are booked on these days, and
given accommodation is so full on the island at present, it means that the
additional capacity can be added without taking away from room stock.
“The other positive of course is that often some of these
fleeting visits become a conversion to a holiday in the future.”
Maggie Angene, Minister of Punanga Nui, said the market was very full with
tourists from the visiting ship.
“I talked to
tourists and they were happy to see the standard of the market.”
Minister Angene said
the big screen had been installed at the market at the request of Prime
Minister Mark Brown, while Minister of Infrastructure Cook Islands Albert
Nicholas had also been assisting with improvements at the market.
The MS Noordam is
82,500 gross tonnes, 285 metres in length, has 11 passenger decks, a capacity
for 1900 passengers and 800 crew, with a maximum speed of 23 knots.
She was christened
in 2006, in New York.
The vessel left
Rarotonga bound for Tonga on Saturday and scheduled to stop in Australia and