Newcastle’s cruise ship volunteers have gained a reprieve after claiming last month Port of Newcastle had “dumped” them from their role greeting passengers.
The port’s private operator sent an email to the volunteers on Wednesday saying it would continue to oversee the program.
“For the upcoming season, PON will retain management of cruise volunteer operations as per previous arrangements,” the email says. “This includes cruise volunteers at the berth.”
The volunteers said last month that Port of Newcastle had told them it was handing the program over to Newcastle City Council, which has a separate set of volunteers who greet passengers in the city centre. But the port appears to have agreed to retain the service.
“You may have read about the ongoing discussions between PON and CN [City of Newcastle] regarding cruise volunteer planning in the Newcastle Herald and we would like to apologise for any confusion and apprehension this may have caused,” the port’s email says.
“As you would be aware, there have been a number of staff changes at both PON and CN. We appreciate your patience and support as both teams navigate the way forward.”
The port will not roster a team of volunteers to greet the first ship of the season, Caledonian Sky, on October 25 because it has only a small number of passengers and is berthing in the West Basin.
But the volunteers will be on deck on October 30 to meet the Celebrity Soltice’s 2850 passengers.
Newcastle is scheduled to host up to 18 cruise ships this season.
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