Cruise-ship passengers feel at home in Dunedin

Florida residents Jim Jackson and his wife, Lynn Jackson, enjoy their visit to Dunedin yesterday....
Florida residents Jim Jackson and his wife, Lynn Jackson, enjoy their visit to Dunedin yesterday. Photo by Peter McIntosh.
Among about 5000 cruise-ship visitors flocking to Dunedin at the weekend were United States citizens Jim and Lynn Jackson, who live near the city's American namesake, Dunedin, in Florida.

Three ships stopped in Dunedin during the city's biggest cruise-ship weekend this summer.

The smaller Clipper Odyssey, with about 130 passengers, and the huge Diamond Princess, with close to 2600, berthed in Dunedin and Port Chalmers respectively on Saturday, and the Rhapsody of the Seas, with 2400, arrived at Port Chalmers yesterday.

The Volendam, with 1500 passengers, and the Silver Whisper, with 400, arrive today.

The Jacksons had a special reason for flying out to join Rhapsody of the Seas for its cruise around New Zealand coastal waters, for which Dunedin was its first port of call, after it had sailed from Melbourne.

They wanted to spend Christmas with their daughter, Staci Jackson (26), who is the lead singer in a musical group which has been entertaining guests aboard the cruise ship.

Mr and Mrs Jackson live about 24km south of Dunedin, Florida, a city with a population of about 37,000.

It was founded by Scottish families in 1899, and named after Dunedin, the original Gaelic name of Edinburgh.

During their brief visit to the "Edinburgh of the South" yesterday, the Jacksons visited the Cadbury chocolate factory, and were also enjoying the city's compact size, friendly inhabitants and historical buildings, including the Dunedin Railway Station, they said.

"I just like the whole feel of the place," Mrs Jackson added.

Dunedin City Council visitor centre team leader Louise van de Vlierd said at least 5000 passengers and crew members had visited the central city during a "great" weekend.

Passengers were obvious among Boxing Day shoppers on Saturday, and taking photographs of the railway station.

Clipper Odyssey had left by early Saturday afternoon, and the Taieri Gorge Railway ran from Port Chalmers for Diamond Princess passengers.

Diamond Princess was on its second visit for the season, which started in October.

david.loughrey@odt.co.nz

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