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First cruise passengers to go ashore after Cyclone Pam devastated Vanuatu

First cruise passengers to go ashore after Cyclone Pam devastated Vanuatu
Passengers sailing from Brisbane on Saturday aboard P&O Cruises Australia’s Pacific Dawn will become the first to go ashore in Port Vila since Cyclone Pam made a direct hit on Vanuatu on March 13.

Vila, the nation’s capital and major port, has been deemed safe for cruise visitors to return as a result of the determined recovery efforts that have been underway since the cyclone caused widespread havoc.

Pacific Dawn arrives in Port Vila on Wednesday and Pacific Pearl will follow, departing Auckland on April 6 and arriving in Port Vila on April 11.

Both ships are carrying more humanitarian aid, including building materials.

‘The arrival of the two ships, which between them will be carrying nearly 4,000 passengers, sends powerful signals about Vanuatu’s capacity to bounce back from such a major natural disaster,’ Carnival Australia ceo Ann Sherry said.

‘Our passengers have been eager to return to Vila to show their support for the people of Vanuatu and it is an expression of our promise to resume regular cruise calls because of the importance of cruise tourism to the Vanuatu economy,’ Sherry said.

‘Two thirds of international visitors arrive in Vanuatu on board cruise ships and we wanted to return as soon as possible.’

While passengers will be able to go ashore they will be urged to remain within Vila’s downtown area and to not venture into residential areas or travel to outlying communities still grappling with the impact of the cyclone.