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Oosterdam dwarfs Apia buildings

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Passengers, Gerry and Chris Driscoll, keen to explore Apia. (inset) Passenger, Paul Haertsnagel.

The Holland America Line cruise ship, Oosterdam, returned to Apia yesterday bringing 1,841 passengers for a taste of the South Pacific.

At 245.13 meters in length and 82,305 tonnes gross weight, the liner dwarfed all else in view in the port, but the passengers were eager to see what Apia had to offer.

Passenger, Paul Haertsnagel, 69, the man from the mountains of Bavaria, took all of his photographs of the local buses, finding them exotic and colourful.

His first impressions of Apia were all positive.

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“Beautiful, friendly people and small scale commercial centre of town, I like that.”

While some passengers were keen to visit the Robert Louis Stevenson Museum as their top priority during their one day in Samoa, other

less mobile passengers were grateful for the handicrafts vendors area on the pier provided by Samoa Ports Authority.

Gerry and Chris Driscoll from Vancouver were full of genuine curiosity about Samoa’s economy and society as they took their map and strode off to town, looking for answers.

The lure of the beautiful South Sea Islands was the reason many chose this popular cruise which starts from Vancouver, Canada and stops in at Hawaii, Samoa, Fiji, Vanuatu, Noumea, Sydney and ends in Auckland, New Zealand.

The passengers are from Canada (734), USA (538), and Australia (405) and 20 other countries, while the 797 crew are predominantly from Indonesia and the Philippines.

Although their stay is brief, many, like Paul Haertsnagel are inspired to return to Samoa for a future holiday. The cruise ship industry is thus of significant value to the tourism sector and the economy of Samoa.

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