THE Eurobodalla will be graced by the presence of a cruise ship with a difference next month.
The MS Caledonian Sky will anchor off Batemans Bay early on Saturday, March 9, and depart late in the afternoon.
Its 98 passengers and 75 crew will land at Batemans Bay on 10 inflatable boats from the ship, eliminating concerns about the sandbar.
The Caledonian Sky may be smaller than other vessels that have visited the Eurobodalla, but the nature of its tours should prove a bonus for Batemans Bay and Moruya.
“The focus of these cruises is on exploration,” said Craig James, the product manager of Australian Pacific Tours, which is organising the visit.
“On bigger ships, there is so much on board that people may never leave the ship but with this tour it is all about the destination. We visit the smaller ports that the bigger ships don’t.”
Rixon’s bus company will shuttle the passengers to destinations such as Mogo Zoo, Moruya Markets, Mogo village, the Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Gardens and the Batemans Bay Bridge.
Among the Caledonian Sky’s crew are marine biologists, ornithologists and geologists to give the passengers some background about the natural wonders of the area.
Most of the passengers are aged between 60 and 75 and are from the United Kingdom.
Eurobodalla Shire Council tourism manager Andrew Greenway is naturally pleased about the ship’s visit.
“It is good because we haven’t had a cruise ship for a couple of years,” he said.
“We will see if it leads to any more in the future. Because it is a smaller ship, it will help us test issues with these visits, and prepare us for when larger ships come here.”
The ship will anchor at 6am after sailing north from Eden. This will be the last stop of the cruise before it sails to Sydney at 5.30pm.