In recent years, the Hunter has established itself as a regular stop for floating palaces.
Star Cruises’ Norwegian Star made its final visit to Newcastle in 2000, a year after this paper reported Sydney Olympic patrons could land in Newcastle ahead of the sporting spectacle.
Newcastle has become the doorway to the Hunter for travellers arriving by sea – but less than a decade ago, ships were lingering in Port Stephens rather than berthing in Newcastle itself.
Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth is the biggest arrival this season, with its Monday morning berth putting it ahead of the Celebrity Solstice for those keeping score.
The Celebrity Solstice’s first visit in 2014 was one for the ages, as the Herald reported at the time,
Then lord mayor Jeff McCloy donned his robes to welcome passengers into the region as onlookers flocked to the harbour’s edge.
‘‘It was bloody amazing,’’ Mr McCloy said at the time.
‘‘I couldn’t believe the amount of locals along the foreshore who came out to welcome the ship in, and I couldn’t believe the reception we got from the passengers.
‘‘I think I posed for about 300 photos with [passengers]. They were really delighted with the reception we gave them.
“I met people from all over the world who said they never got that sort of reception in Brisbane or in Sydney.’’
The warm welcome worked – Celebrity Solstice returned to the Hunter in March.
What are your best memories of cruise ships in the Hunter?