Pacific Jewel tourists choose our city as wedding destination
GLADSTONE came to the rescue of a Port Macquarie couple today after their plans for a dream wedding hit a snag off the coast of Mooloolaba.
Due to tie the knot on Mooloolaba beach, adverse weather conditions sunk the wedding plans of Matthew and Christine Moore (nee Drennan), but the crew of P&O's Pacific Jewel came to the rescue to ensure their special occasion went ahead today.
The happy couple held a commitment ceremony on Wednesday afternoon, but were unable to make the wedding legal due to a lack of a celebrant.
The Pacific Jewel crew then organised for celebrant Gail Evans to be flown from the Sunshine Coast to Gladstone so she could preside over the couple's ceremony.
"I got a phone call at 7am yesterday morning to say that the captain made an announcement that the ship couldn't come in," Ms Evans said.
Despite a some disappointment and a few tears, all the cards fell into place for Matt and Christine, who were more than happy to hold their big day in the port city.
"P&O have organised the wedding and it's been unbelievable," Mr Moore said.
"I was more disappointed for Christine, but I knew something would work out and it has unbelievably.
"Everyone has been fantastic."
The childhood friends have known each other for more than two decades, but their love only blossomed in recent times after some carefully crafted matchmaking.
"They met a long time ago as best friends and their lives went in separate directions," Ms Evans said.
"It took a sister and Facebook to bring them back together and five years ago they met again and it didn't take long - all of a sudden they knew - it's a beautiful story of childhood friends becoming adult lovers."
Having never presided over a cruise ship wedding before, Ms Evans said there could be potential for a lucrative cruise ship wedding market for the region.
"Gladstone would be really good because there's a port," she said.
"It's a bit difficult when you have to bring tenders (boats) in because the weather is volatile.
"But Mooloolaba and the Sunshine Coast is still beautiful, but it's just suspect when the weather isn't so good."
P&O Pacific Jewel Entertainment Coordinator Christian Dodd said the cruise ship had to err on the side of caution when docked off a windy Mooloolaba beach.
"It was a bit unsafe for passengers because we lower our tender boats from the ship and because of the swell of the ocean being a bit too rough and unsafe and dangerous for passengers," he said.
"Unfortunately it was deemed a bit unsafe by the captain and we had to postpone.
"But we are here docked in Gladstone and there's no need for tenders - people can walk on and off as they please."
Mr Dodd said the Pacifc Jewel crew left no stone unturned to assure the wedding went smoothly.
"We make things happen and do the best we can and go all out and I like to think we've done that today for Matthew and Christine," he said.
"I was up quite early in the morning ready to help passengers disembark the ship only to be told that unfortunately due to the weather we were unable make it.
"It was a lot of fun but a tough process with Mooloolaba being unfortunately postponed."