Shops in Cobargo are disappointed in a decision that could have resulted in a financial boost for the town.
On Wednesday, February 24, strong winds and dangerous surf forced the captain of the MS Marina to cancel their voyage into Eden.
“A lot of businesses may lose some money due to this, not only were there 600 people booked on tours throughout the Sapphire Coast but a lot of cafes and businesses put on extra staff, cooked extra food, baked scones, you name it, a lot of people are missing out,” Cruise Eden manager Natalie Godward said.
One of the villages the tourists were expected to visit on Wednesday was Cobargo, where six buses filled with 250 people were supposed to stop in.
“It would have boosted business in a time when it is beginning to become quieter,” owner of Platform 57, also known as The Train Cafe, Dalice Partridge said.
“I think it would have generated a buzz in town and made Cobargo more well-known.
“But you can’t help these things.”
She said a lot of tourists to the town come from such countries as France, England and the US and she thought many tell their friends back home where they have been, spreading the word about Cobargo.
Owner of Chalk and Cheese Nathan Eldridge echoed the thoughts of Ms Partridge.
“It’s a little bit disappointing, but it can’t be helped,” he said.
“It doesn’t really affect us either way.
“Financially it would have been a good boost for our town, but it was not to be.”
Mr Eldridge said despite its small size, Cobargo was capable of handling a large intake of people, as it managed when lots of people visited over Christmas.
South Coast Leather shop assistant Marea Blair also thought Cobargo could cope with large numbers of tourists off cruise ships and said the captain had the responsibility to make sure his passengers and crew were safe.
“It’s just unfortunate, you can’t poke daggers at people over things like that,” she said.
On Thursday, Ms Godward said Friday’s cruise ship the Noordam still planned to arrive in Eden as a smaller swell was expected and passengers would tour the area, but would not visit Cobargo.
However, she said passengers would definitely go to Cobargo in the future.
“Cobargo hasn’t experienced an influx of passengers like this yet,” she said.
As this season wraps up in March, the town will have to wait until next season, starting in November, for the chance to host visitors off a cruise ship again.