SWETTENHAM Pier was in the limelight again this week with the arrival of two ‘Queens’ of the ocean.
Queen Victoria was here yesterday with 1,832 passengers and a crew of 972 from 7.30am to 5pm.
Tomorrow, Queen Elizabeth will call, too, from 8am to 6pm.
Both ocean liners are named regally for a good reason. They are among the most fabulously adorned ships in the seven seas.
Queen Victoria’s Royal Court Theatre is the only one at sea with private balcony boxes where passengers can indulge in live opera in priceless privacy.
Queen Elizabeth’s ornate Britannia Restaurant takes up two decks at the stern and holds fast to the golden era of sea travel in the days before aeroplanes were made.
“Both cruise liners came from Singapore. Queen Victoria is calling on Colombo in Sri Lanka next.
“Queen Elizabeth is on a long voyage. After Penang, she will go to Phuket, India, the Persian Gulf, Cairo in Egypt and several European countries,” Penang Port Sdn Bhd head of corporate communications Joan Tan said yesterday.
She added that when Queen Victoria came, tour companies hired 29 buses, three cars and a van to take passengers on a whirlwind tour of Penang.
“In cruise tours, passengers have the option to select land tour packages when they disembark or they can come on land and seek their own experiences.
“The good thing about Swettenham Pier is that as soon as they step onto the street, they are in the heritage enclave of George Town.
“Many cruise terminals in the world cannot offer this because they are built far from urban centres,” Tan said.
The arrival of the cruise ships in Penang is often celebrated by tourism players because of the high-spending power of such tourists.