THE Feast on East market was thick with bits and bobs stalls, local food and sweaty locals who gathered around to welcome passengers from P&O's second cruise ship, the Pacific Jewel.

At a bit after 9am and with the sun beating down the first of 2000 odd cruisers disembarked and started their journey through Gladstone.

GAPDL CEO Darryl Branthwaite was hoping for a big day with more than 8000 people expected to make their way down to East Shores.

"It's a fantastic day and we've been blessed again with the weather," he said.

"It's moderately hot… and we're expecting a whole heap of people to turn up from around the region.

"There are 85 stalls here and we're all geared up for it and all ready to go for 2000 passengers," he said.

The atmosphere was festive with local talent belting out tunes throughout the day and lots of stalls counting the dollars as they sold their goods.

In one special moment great grandmother Kathleen Moss was met by her family who lives in Bororen and hadn't seen for years.

"This is wonderful," she said.

"I've come up from Shellharbour and today is going to be marvellous.

"Especially with these little ones," she said while hugging her grandchildren Tyler and Hallie.

In a stroke of luck and while holidaying on another cruise, Mrs Moss had won a free trip with P&O and jumped at the chance to come to Gladstone to see her loving family.

"I've been awake since 6am," she said.

"I couldn't miss this."

But unfortunately not everything was smooth sailing, with some of the portable toilets arriving full and without any water.

For the best part of an hour the toilets were out of order however no one seemed to mind with Gladstone sparkling under the hot Central Queensland sun.

Cruise ship passengers were able to experience the full gamut of what Gladstone had to offer with trips to the reef, the discovery coast, Quion Island and through the town.


THE election isn't the only exciting event for Gladstone this weekend.

Today is Gladstone's second visit from P&O Cruises and the Pacific Jewel has just docked at East shores.

Already the precinct is teeming with activity and within the hour almost 2000 passengers are expected to come ashore.

View of the Pacific Jewel from Spinnaker Park as tug boats pushed her up against the dock just before 9am this morning.
View of the Pacific Jewel from Spinnaker Park as tug boats pushed her up against the dock just before 9am this morning. Paul Braven

They'll be officially welcomed at 11am by Queensland Tourism Minister Kate Jones herself as Gladstone celebrates another milestone for its newest industry.

For curious residents its worth heading down for a look because the Pacific Jewel has been moored with the front of the ship facing East Shores, giving a different view of the cruise liner. 

GAPDL CEO Darryl Branthwaite is hoping to see 8000 people flood the area today. 

Market stalls have been set up since early this morning and Graham Humphreys from the Maritime Museum bus loop is looking forward to a day "chockablock" with action.

The Pacific Jewel is on a seven-night Queensland cruise which gives passengers the chance to explore the reef, 1770, Quoin Island and Kroombit Tops.

The first visit from P&O Cruises was on March 10 and the short stopover was heralded as a great success with hundreds of residents heading down to welcome visitors. 

Afterwards, Mr Branthwaite acknowledged there were some 'teething problems', namely transport for the city tours with passengers waiting up to an hour to a seat instead of 30 minutes. 

However that's hopefully been resolved by adding more mini buses to the fleet. 

The ship leaves at 7pm tonight giving passengers a few more hours to explore Gladstone. 

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