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The US newlyweds make the story of eight million cross passengers

Newwwed Meghan Lorenzon from Orlando, Florida, stepped off the Norwegian joy and entered the record books Friday afternoon, breaking eight million mark for cruise ship passengers at the Ogden Point terminal.

By her side was the man Brent Petkus.

"It's pretty amazing," said the 36-year-old Lorenzon to the media on the pier. "It's actually a bit crazy. I love it."

She said that everything happened when the crew gave her and Petkus a call and asked if one of them was the eight million customer was something they would be interested in.

It turns out that it was.

"We are celebrating our honeymoon," Lorenzon said. "We got married two weeks ago and so we were just incredible. I think it's just amazing.

"It's just a good end to the week, it's just been a great week together."

She said they were aboard their cruise ship in Seattle with a view to doing something a little different. "We were looking for something unique, something we are not used to," Lorenzon said. "It's beautiful here."

Petkus, 33, said he was excited to be leaving Victoria.

"I've always wanted to visit British Columbia, so this is nice to check out the bucket list for me, because I know there are many historical things here," he said. "I'm anxious to see the city, it's something I'm happy to do."

Lorenzon and Petkus were presented with the possibility of a Victoria Pedi-cab tour of downtown, tea at the Fairmont Empress or a bus ride to Butchart Gardens, and leaned toward the latter. "I hear it's beautiful," said Lorenzon.

The couple also received a gift basket full of local items.

Lindsay Gaunt, the Greater Victoria Harbor Authority, head of cruise development, said the number of cruise passengers began in the 1970s when the industry just started.

"We are quite happy to have made up to eight million."

The number is increasing rapidly, with the seven million passenger mark reached just two years ago. "This year we are projecting about 700,000 passengers to arrive through Ogden Point, so we'll see another millionth passenger party next year," Gaunt says.

The 10 million passage is expected to arrive by 2021.

She said that Lorenzon and Petkus were chosen when the port authority contacted the ship's crew. "We asked them to look at the guests at their ship and give us a tip on who they thought could be a big eight million passengers."

Then it was arranged that they would be the first people outside the ship.

Gaunt said that the influx of visitors from cruise ships is a blessing to Victoria. "Our first ship usually arrives in mid-April and the last ship arrives around mid-October, but the whole peak season is May to September," she said.

About 260 vessels will be coming to Victoria Cruise Ship Terminal this year.

The Norwegian joy was scheduled for 10:00 on Friday. The vessel, which can carry 3 883 passengers, is in its initial season to come Victoria.

The character of the ship includes a two-level go-cart track, a water park and outdoor laser tag.

© Copyright Times Colonist

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