Nuku'alofa once again welcomed the arrival of yet another magnificent cruise ship, the 'Queen Victoria' on Monday 17th March 2014. 

The Queen Victoria is the second Cunard vessel to visit Nuku'alofa for the year. Its sister ship, the 'Queen Elizabeth' visited in early February of this year a third sister Curiseship the 'Queen Mary' is expected to arrive in 2015.

The very size of these cruise ships awe the people of Nuku'alofa as Tonga takes pride in Vuna wharf, Tonga's very own wharf designated for cruise ships. The wharf facilitates ease of access for both the cruise passengers and the services and also serves as a center stage for cultural entertainment showcasing traditional Tongan dances and costumes.

Only on its second visit to Nuku'alofa, the Queen Victoria berthed for the first time at Vuna wharf. Due to strong winds warning predicted for the day it was unclear whether the cruise ship will anchor in the deep or berth along Vuna. As reported by the Operations Manager of Pacific Forum Line, Mr. Latu Lui, due to  the strong wind expected for Monday, the cruise ship captain was still indecisive on whether to bring the ship ashore (berth at Vuna) or anchor. If the ship will anchor, setup will be relocated to Faua Jetty. It was at that time that the local pilot went o n board at 6:30am on Monday morning and  it was made known the Queen Victoria will berth along Vuna wharf. Despite the late notification from the ship and its early berthing at Vuna, operations went smoothly. Clearance officials were ready on the wharf and passengers were warmly welcomed by the serenading sounds of the Tonga Police band. Tour Operator, vendors, services and taxis were ready before passengers disembarked.

The Queen Victoria arrived with 1,817 passengers and 984 crews. Before arriving in Nuku'alofa the Queen Victoria was scheduled to call on Bay of Plenty in New Zealand but due to the cyclone warning, Lucy it set sail to Tonga, arriving in Tonga on Sunday and berthed in Nuku’alofa only on Monday morning.

Feedback provided by visitors of their experiences in Tonga on the day summed up their experience and Tonga as 'a beautiful place with friendly people'. They also enjoyed their tours with the taxis and a good number of visitors simply enjoyed the walking tour around Nuku’alofa. Handicraft producers and ta xi drivers were very happy with the sales made on the day.

With only nine cruise ships remaining for the year 2014, the Ministry in collaborations with the Cruise Steering Committee and the Tonga Tourism Authority will continue to work together with stakeholders and the general public in boosting the cruise market and to show our visitors our true Tongan hospitality. 

For more information on the cruise ships for 2 014, contact the Ministry of Commerce, Tourism and Labour - Tourism &TradeInvest Division on 24 436.

Guests on board the Queen Victoria as they leave the ship to explore the island

As a token of appreciation, a gift exchange between the Captain of the Queen Victoria
and the Honorable Minister of Commerce, Tourism and Labour, Dr. Viliami Uasike Latu
was made.