By Nicole Feriancek
THE DIGBY COURIER
The vista from the Digby marina will look a bit different on Wednesday.
In addition to the sparkling ocean scape, there will be a cruise ship parked in the middle of the Basin.
From 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. almost 500 passengers will be set loose in Digby to explore the town, see the sights and taste the tastes.
The cruise visitors are coming all the way from England and are in the 50-65 age range.
While this isn’t the first cruise ship to come to Digby, Mike Barltett thinks it may be the biggest welcome Digby’s ever given.
The waterfront will be lively; scallop demonstrations with Al Zinc, bagpipes, RCMP in red serge, tours, fiddlers busking and 15 vendors selling gifts.
An entire Tourism class from Digby Regional High School will also be involved, helping welcome visitors and learning about tourism outside of the classroom.
“It’s important to get the young people involved,” says Bartlett, who has been working to bring cruise ships to Digby for a dozen years.
While the last cruise that visited town in 2009 had about 1500 passengers, this cruise visit should still be busy.
“Probably 90 per cent of the people on board the ship will want to get off and come to town, considering how poor the weather has been the past few days, “ said Bartlett, who is the chair of Cruisefundy, an organizing committee that works to attract and welcome cruise ships.
Some visitors will hop on a bus and head to Annapolis Royal, to see the gardens or Bear River for a winery tour.
Here in Digby, Greg Turner will be guiding a 1.5 hour walking tour of the town.
The Admiral Digby Museum is also putting on a show, as 17 volunteers get dressed in full Loyalist costume to give authentic tours and demonstrations in the museum.
Sheryl Stanton, the curator at Museum said past cruise ship visits have been extremely beneficial for the area.
“The cruise passengers absolutely loved Digby, and many said they would definitely be back,” said Stanton. “In fact, I’ve had some of the same people come back to the museum since then.”
Museum highlights include hands-on rug hooking, historic exhibits and a live quilting demonstration by the Fundy Tide Quilters Guild.
Joy O’Neil, ADEDA economic development officer and another member of Cruisefundy says the positive benefits of cruise ship tourism are long-lasting.
“It’s important because not only does it bring in money in dollars spent while visitors are in the area, but the statistics show that 10 per cent of all visitors that come to port while on a cruise ship will visit again sometime in the future,” she said.
“This really is an investment in Digby’s future."