BY ALFRED PAGEPITU
THE L’Austral cruise ship made a surprise visit to the Western provincial capital town on Tuesday this week.
The cruise ship L’Austral anchored off Gizo harbour as passengers were tendered the short distance to a wooden jetty at the Gizo Hotel.
No entertainments and cultural shows were made at the venue as passengers were free to walk around along the street, hotels and shops.
L’Austral stopped over Gizo Harbor few hours, sending its hundred of passengers into the streets and creating a festive atmosphere along the street, hotel, MSG market house and souvenir shops.
The 10,944-tonne, 264-passenger cruise ship L’Austral, berth at the ocean gateway between Logha and Gizo Island, where it was docked for most of the day before departing about 1 p.m.
“It is definitely tremendous,” said Ms Louise of France, who visited MSG market house and other visiting tourists from the ship.
Louise described Gizo Island and other surrounding Islands as calm.
She said that this is her first visit to Gizo Island with her husband and there are not much happens along the Main Street, but I can see from the distance France flag raise from one of the cab and we are proud to see some of our football fans here in the Western Solomon.
“Most passengers spent their time in the one and only souvenir shop, Gizo Diving, that accepts credit cards, Euro, US dollar, and Australian dollar.”
“I love gorgeous wood carvings, shells and stone carving, but all very expensive,” she added.
“Gizo is a tourism center for water sports; diving and surfing are the most popular activities but our voyage to Gizo is not what we expecting like cultural show and traditional music performing along the street,” said Louise.
She and her husband, Walter, enjoyed the day at the market place and hope one day will visit Gizo again with lovely and friendly people in the Pacific Islands.
L’Austral visit signifies a second time for one of the French cruise line to berth at a Provincial destination and went to Vanuatu.
L’Austral is a cruise ship operated by the French cruise line company (Compagnie du Ponant). It is the sister vessel of Le Boréal and Le Soléal, being the same weight, length and breadth, along with having 132 cabins and suites for 264 passengers and 140 crew members like the other two ships. L’Austral was built in 2010 at Fincantieri’s Ancona shipyard, Italy.L’Austral was put into service on April 20, 2011.