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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 June, 2005, 14:22 GMT 15:22 UK
First ship cruises into Anglesey
The cruise ship anchored at sea (By Rhian Jones)
The Golden Princess was moored off Holyhead for 12 hours
Hundreds of American and Canadian tourists have spent Tuesday exploring north Wales after Holyhead welcomed its first cruise ship.

Passengers aboard the Golden Princess woke to a grey morning on Anglesey but were soon hopping aboard buses heading to Beaumaris, Caernarfon and Snowdonia.

In total, 1,500 of the ship's 2,600 guests set foot in Wales, some making use of specially-trained cabbies.

The liner's first planned visit on 25 May was cancelled due to bad weather.

Very few people go to Wales from the United States. They know nothing about Wales.
American tourist Joe Laird

Thirty-six coaches were hired to ferry the passengers, mostly from north America, to tourist attractions including Caernarfon Castle, Ffestiniog Railway, Bodnant Gardens and Llechwedd Slate Mines.

Thirty visitors opted for pedal power, while others hired cars and caught taxis whose drivers have taken part in a special "Anglesey Ambassadors" programme.

American Joe Laird, who was stationed at RAF Valley during the war, and his wife were among those disembarking.

"We wanted to see the British Isles - we hit Ireland, we're hitting Scotland, we're hitting Wales," he said.

Some of the American tourists
A total of 1,500 passengers disembarked at Holyhead

"Very few people go to Wales from the United States. They know nothing about Wales.

"I was here back in 1944 and I wanted to come back and show my wife Wales."

Raine Iling, from Colorado, added: "It's a refreshing change from all the overblown tourist areas, it's a nice little town".

Aviva Pearson, Anglesey's tourism officer who is also American, said: "I've been speaking to many couples and I've seen them on their way to Beaumaris, Amlwch, Cenmaes, Rhosneigr.

"They're going to see some of the most beautiful places in Wales which happen to be on Anglesey.

"I'm watching people taking taxis, which is one way of improving our economy, and watching people making plans to go to places on the island that normally don't see tourists."

The Golden Princess was due to sail from the waters off Holyhead at 1800 BST, but is due to return three more times before the end of the summer.

Tips for cabbies on US tourists
20 Apr 05 |  North West Wales

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