Is that a pregnant woman holding a sword? was among the first comments by cruise ship passengers when their ship the MS Prinsendam called in at Ilfracombe today (Sunday). But their take on Damien Hirsts Verity was in good heart as they began their five hour stay in the town, or opted to take an excursion into North Devon and Exmoor. The 800-passenger ship MS Prinsendam was returning to the town after four years, carrying numerous American, Dutch and German tourists among others who were only too happy to brave the persistent rain and see what North Devon had to offer. She will remain anchored off the pier until around 3pm, so there is still time to catch a glimpse of her. The liners visit is the result of ongoing membership of Destination South West, which promotes West Country ports to cruise line companies across the globe.Heritage linksIt is hoped that not only will this increase revenue for the town, but spread the word about what North Devon has to offer around the world. To strengthen those ties, there was even two special presentations at the Landmark Theatre by author Andy Powell entitled How the men of North Devon founded America, about the first settlers who in 1587 founded the lost colony of Roanoke. Robert and Ellen Walker from Kent, Ohio, told the Gazette Ilfracombe was the only stop in England for the Prinsendam and they had researched it on Google in advance. We are not even doing an excursion, we are walking around on our own because the town looks so pretty, said Robert. We want to wander the promenade and then enjoy the town. We saw the statue, its very interesting. Verity certainly attracted plenty of attention. Sonal Chauhan also said the sculpture was interesting and liked the notion of a warrior woman with a sword rather than a man.Gee...Ken and Linda from Arizona, who preferred not to give their surname, said it was striking: On the tender coming in we said gee, is that a statue of a pregnant woman with a sword? said Ken. We elected not to do an excursion. We researched Ilfracombe carefully and we are walking fans, so our intention is to walk around town. The visitors emerging from their boats were met by Town Crier Roy Goodwin and his wife Bea, plus the Mayor, Councillor George Squires, who said he had met people from all over the continent and America.Taking the message homeThey were all coming off with a smile on their faces and to be met by Roy and his wife is absolutely brilliant for them, he said. About half are staying in the town and the other half are wandering around North Devon, but it does not matter as long as they take back a good message everyone who comes here will probably say something to their friends at home.