Cruise Ship Coming to Town This Weekend - WTOC-TV: Savannah, Beaufort, SC, News, Weather & Sports

05/04/07

Cruise Ship Coming to Town This Weekend

Company's coming! Nothing new for our area.

We see people from around the world walking the streets all the time, especially downtown. Well our streets will be even more crowded now that a cruise ship is calling Savannah home for a day.

Around Downtown Savannah, tour buses & trolleys are filled with tourists enjoying what the area has to offer, but come this weekend they'll have a lot of company.

"I think what we're excited about is the potential of 1,100 passengers visiting our restaurants and the downtown area," said Savannah Area Convention and Visitors Bureau President Joseph Marinelli.

Those 1,100 people will be sailing up the Savannah River on this, Holland America's, 720 foot, passenger cruise ship the MS Maasdam. It's the largest cruise ship ever to pass through the Savannah Harbor.

The ship is making a 15 day cruise to Quebec City, Canada and Savannah just happens to be the first stop since the ship left Fort Lauderdale, but why Savannah?

"I think what makes Savannah a place where they want to come is a historical city that has a lot to offer," said Marinelli.

With downtown as lively as it is already and a cruise ship coming into town, businesses and restaurants can expect to see a ripple effect.

"We're going to be expecting a lot more customers and a lot more business so we are very excited," said Huey's restaurant manager Delaney Hall.

Workers are already making sure they have enough glassware and paper products to serve the big crowds.

Marinelli said this weekend is an experiment, but there's no timetable for when or if Savannah will end up housing cruise ships.

"The prospect of Savannah getting a passenger terminal that will give us the opportunity to bring in ships, cruise lines and people with money to spend is very exciting for our city," said Marinelli.

And very exciting for those businesses who will cater to these new tourists.

The ship will dock in Savannah and passengers will be able to get off the ship and tour Savannah, however the more than one hundred people in Savannah planning on boarding this ship cannot. Instead they will be bused to Charleston where they can board there Monday.

Reported by: David Hall, dhall@wtoc.com

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