Cunard’s luxury ship the Queen Elizabeth arrived in Newcastle this morning – her maiden voyage to one of NSW’s largest cities.

She steamed into Newcastle Harbour just after 7am with a crowd waiting to greet her.

Newcastle is one of her stops on a four-month voyage from Southampton in the United Kingdom. She is visiting places like Spain, South Africa and destinations in the Middle East.

This morning she was welcomed by a three-gun salute at Fort Scratchley and then a special parade was organised for the QE’s captain, officers and bell boys on Wharf Road to Queens Wharf.

There was also a civic reception with RAAD Honour Guard with Carnival’s CEO Ann Sherry as one of the special guests.

Port of Newcastle CEO Geoff Crowe said the QE is the seventh ship to visit Newcastle during this wave season.

“It’s doing a leg from Sydney up to Brisbane, and then on to Hong Kong, but this is part of a 121-day voyage,” he said.

“The tourist groups estimate that the cruise season adds about $11 million per annum into our Hunter economy.

“By growing the cruise and tourism industry, it’s just adding more money, so it’s a great contribution to the region.

“There are various opportunities [the passengers] take advantage of — they’ll go up to the Hunter Valley to look at the vineyards, they’ll go up to Port Stephens to do dolphin watching and cruising, maybe even look at the sand hills at Stockton, and a lot will come into the CBD of Newcastle.”

Read ship reviews of Queen Elizabeth here

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