Nearly 2000 passengers will be carried into Albany’s port on Saturday morning when cruise liner Queen Elizabeth makes a nine-hour stopover. Barring unfavourable conditions, it will be the first big cruise ship carrying more than 1000 passengers into Albany since March 2020 following two previous ships cancelling stops late last year. Southern Bus Charters will be charged with shuttling disembarking cruise-goers from the port into the centre of town, as well as a variety of popular tourist spots. SBC managing director Debbie Edwards said the service will have four buses running constantly between the port and Albany Visitor Centre from 8am until 5pm. “Each ship that we provide services for results in a boost for our business, it also provides work for our drivers and an increase in business for many other small businesses in Albany,” she said. In September last year, Albany Mayor Dennis Wellington told the Advertiser cruises could inject about $8 million into the City’s economy directly each season, but the true value came from attracting return visitors once they had a taste for the region. So far this season six cruises, ranging in capacity from 120 passengers through to 690, have docked at the port. The only two cruises which have been unable to make it to port due to unfavourable conditions were the two biggest scheduled to visit so far, the Coral Princess in October and the Noordam in December. Each had the capacity to bring about 2000 visitors to Albany before ultimately bypassing the port. Ms Edwards said cancellations would have had a financial impact on many businesses. She said she did not weather watch leading into a cruise visit because it is “out of our control”. “There is always a huge investment in administration human resources when preparing for a cruise ship, our team spend days working on each one in the lead-up to its arrival,” she said. “Our maintenance staff clean, refuel and prep vehicles which is also an expense to the business. “For very large vessels we often need to bring in sub-contractors to meet the demand for buses, which have to be paid for even if they’re not used.” A spokesman for Cunard, which operates the Queen Elizabeth, told the Advertiser on Tuesday its 1890 guests were looking forward to visiting Albany. “Currently, wind conditions are forecast to be within the operating limits for berthing our ship in Albany,” he said. “However, the conditions might change between now and our scheduled arrival, which is outside of our control.” In the wake of the Noordam bypassing Albany in December the Albany Chamber of Commerce and Industry called for a solution to be reached which would share the burden of cruise ship cancellations brought about by weather conditions. SBC will carry guests to the National Anzac Centre, Albany Historic Whaling Station, the Gap and Natural Bridge, the Blowholes, Albany Wind Farm, wineries and other locations. “On all cruise ships we provide transport for tours as well as the shuttle service to town,” Ms Edwards said.