The Queen Mary 2 arrived for her historic first visit to Busselton on Monday 13 February 2017. 2,351 passengers disembarked the ship to be welcomed by a host of activities including live entertainment, gourmet local produce and wine tastings at the new Busselton Visitor Centre and custom designed window displays from local retailers. Feedback from visitors was outstanding, with surveys taken with passengers at the end of the day showing a satisfaction rating of over 99.26% with their Busselton experience.
Read more in this account by Ross Montgomery, City of Busselton Economic Development Officer:
On Monday 13th the Queen Mary 2 visited Busselton for the day. The Cunard Lines prestige ocean liner stopped in at Busselton for one day as part of its 135 night New York to New York global voyage. The visit was a first for both the Queen and for Busselton. It was a time for celebration. Passengers were treated to an expose of the Busselton Margaret River gourmet region as well as a healthy slice of Busselton hospitality.
Alighting passengers were greeted with a brass band, a welcome kite and an army of volunteer ‘greeters’. The excitement was infectious and the crowd of onlookers swelled.
A delegation from the City presented the Captain with a plaque made from timbers salvaged from the original jetty. They were treated to a brief tour to showcase the splendour of Queen Mary 2.
Local businesses put out the ‘welcome mat’ by decorating windows in tribute to and celebration of a cruising life aboard the Queen Mary 2.
Many also offered visitors special deals and a place to escape to collect their thoughts on dry land.
Mayor of Busselton Grant Henley was out and about judging the welcome-windows. “It is clear there has been a lot of thought, creativity and some lateral fun aimed at capturing the spirit of cruising” he said. “I was impressed so many of the businesses entered into the spirit of our challenge – I can see there was some fun to be had with post-it notes, origami even nautical mannequins.
After extensive deliberations the Shabby Duck was awarded the best window display for its well-researched and executed recreation of the Queen Mary experience of a bygone era (see photo left). Several others deserved commendations and showed that Busselton businesses are not lacking in a sense of fun and regard for occasion. It is indeed a town with a sense of fun at heart.
Matt Norton from the Margaret River Tourist Association and Jodie Richards from the Busselton Chamber of Commerce and Industry assisted in the coordination of entries and organised the competition.
The ‘patchy’ weather was nothing like a typical February. The performances of the Busselton Brass Band, Broadbent Brothers, Voices of the Vasse and Mucky Duck were appreciated by a diehard crew of revellers and the new Visitor Centre hosted a small tasting for local Wine and Cheeses.
On the Bay the misty cloud was sliced by the sails from the Geographe Bay Race Week – as yachts battled for position. The classic lines of the QM 2 set well against the Jetty and the scene of yachts, combined with the eerie light was reminiscent of a Turner watercolour.
Once all passengers had returned to ship, and as the weather cleared, faint smoke puffed from the funnels as the Queen gracefully slipped mooring to continue her global cruise to Adelaide. Onlookers gathered to admire the view and bear a wistful farewell to one of the most beautiful vessels in the world to have visited Busselton.