The Illawarra has every reason to be incredibly proud of what it has achieved for the maiden voyage of a cruise ship into Port Kembla.
They day was just a superb display and something Royal Caribbean and the over 3000 passengers and crew on board could only truly enjoy.
From the early hours people were lined up along every part of the coastline as the mega liner cruised into the region.
And didn’t the weather turn it on?
As the cruise liner was guided into Port Kembla itwas greeted to a fire cannon display from one of the tug boats, whilea flyover of the Catalina and Dakota from HARS was an extra special touch.
Even the local wildlife put on a display with Humpback whales performing around the boat as it sat off shore.
The Illawarra Mercury gave peoplea special insight with live Facebook videos from above the Radiance on a helicopter, on board one of the tug boats and actually on board the Radiance itself as it docked.
You could hear the passion and pride from the local people on board as a “we love the Gong” chant rang out.
It was the same feeling when the first shuttle bus with the cruise ship passengers on board rolled up to Lang Park.
You even got a sense that passengers seemed a little overwhelmed when they stepped off the bus to be greeted by a sea of enthusiastic volunteers, all excitedly applauding and the red carpet awaiting.
As Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra Gareth Ward noted at the time: “Anyone who says community spirit is dead should be seeing this”.
Indeed, the spirit of community was oozing out of the Illawarra and it was wonderful to witness.
This will no doubt be the first of many cruise ships to our region in the future.
Yet this moment was special.
There will never be another “first” and the community rejoiced in the occasion.
Congratulations to the entire community and business community who rallied behind this initiative.
A special congratulations to Cr Leigh Colacino for his relentless persistence of turning this dream into a reality.
Another special congratulations to Mark Sleigh and the team at Destination Wollongong for making it happen.
Take a bow (pun intended) people of the Illawarra, you have done us proud ina key moment in this region’s history.
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.