Two cruise ships will pay a visit to Astoria Thursday, making the first visits of 2005. Royal Caribbean International's Radiance of the Seas will arrive at 6:30 a.m. and anchor off the 17th Street pier, while Holland America's Oosterdam will tie up to Pier 1 at the Port of Astoria at 11 a.m.

Volunteer cruise hosts will greet passengers arriving at both locations, and some guests will be taken on shore excursions of the area.

"We treat every vessel call like its our first one," said Port Deputy Director Bill Cook, who met with the cruise committee last week to make sure everything was set for the ships and the visitors.

There will be more than 1,850 passengers and more than 800 crew members on the Oosterdam, and the Radiance can carry 2,500 passengers, although Cook doesn't yet have the final passenger count. Typically, 60 percent of cruise ship passengers get off the boat at a port of call.

Although the Radiance of the Seas stopped in Astoria last year in early May, this is the first visit up the Columbia River for the Oosterdam. Three other ships will bring tourists to Astoria next week, one on Monday and two on May 13, while seven are scheduled to stop in town in the fall.

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