WHEN a cruise ship arrives with up to 2000 passengers on board, it is not long before they start to fan out far and wide to check out the sights.

>> READ: 9 facts about the Pacific Dawn you won't believe 

Some will head off further afield to regional centres such as the seaside town of 1770, Rockhampton and Bundaberg to experience the best the district has to offer.

"One of the great things about a cruise ship visit is the ripple effect of tourist activity that stretches out to the surrounding region," said P&O Cruises spokesman David Jones.

P&O Cruises' Gladstone calls offer a range of shore tour experiences from snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef off beautiful Wilson Island to scenic flights over 1770.

But experiencing Gladstone as a major industrial port and multi-commodity hub is an attraction as well.

A Port Curtis Harbour cruise includes commanding views of the Curtis Island LNG construction and another tour views one of the world's largest bauxite processing plants and the power station.

"Giving our passengers an opportunity to see Gladstone's industrial infrastructure harks back to an era when developments of national significance were a source of pride and became visitor attractions," said David Jones.

Other shore tour highlights for cruise passengers include:

Gladstone city highlights including Tondoon Botanic Gardens with its native gardens, birds, wallabies and turtles.

Quoin Island retreat and home to Queensland's Turtle Rehabilitation Centre along with pristine beaches and stunning views of Gladstone.

Capricorn Caves and a visit to the beef capital of Rockhampton for a whip-cracking good time and the chance to ride a mechanical bull for those who are game.

Bundaberg Rum Distillery visiting the home town of world famous "Bundy Rum" including a visit to the Grand Barrelhouse.