The Celebrity Solstice cruise liner arrived in Newcastle this morning on its 12-night Great Barrier Reef journey.
The Celebrity is the lead ship of the Solstice-class of cruise ships. The vessel is 314.86 metres long and carries 2,852 passengers.
The vessel is due to depart the berth at 5pm.
CRUISING INTO NEWCASTLE
In recent years, the Hunter has established itself as a regular stop for floating palaces. Just last month, the Pacific Jewel berthed in Newcastle before departing on Tuesday, December 19.
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.
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.
What are your best memories of cruise ships in the Hunter?