Note to pubic speakers: Princess Cruises’ Diamond Princess makes a very bright and active backdrop. Carnival Australia chief executive Ann Sherry found this out on Tuesday night when she spoke to media at Circular Quay about Australia’s biggest ever summer cruise season.
Diamond Princess provided the perfect background – until a giant screen on the ship burst into life and an on-deck sailaway party got passengers into holiday mood.
Despite the big-screen competition, Sherry got her message across as the ship sailed gracefully away past Sydney Opera House. Over coming months, Carnival Australia will have an unprecedented 22 ships from its seven cruise lines sailing in local waters, including more than 170 calls to Australia’s cruising gateway, Sydney.
This year would be the biggest cruise season ever, she said. Such things have been said before – and they keep coming true, such is the exponential growth in cruising worldwide.
Sherry said the 22 ships due to sail in Aussie waters represented nearly a quarter of Carnival Corporation’s worldwide fleet.
Between them, the 22 ships will carry more than 530,000 cruisers – more than the population of Tasmania – over the summer period. In total the ships will make 538 turnaround and transit calls to Australian ports from today through to the end of April 2016 – 21 per cent more than in 2014-15 – adding significantly to the industry’s estimated $4 billion economic contribution.
“In 2005-2006, we heralded a bumper cruise season with 10 ships from across our fleets sailing locally and making 141 calls to Australian ports. A decade on the number of ships has more than doubled and the number of local calls has more than tripled.”
The 22 ships sailing in Australian waters represents a 10% increase on last year’s summer season and includes P&O Cruises’ latest ships, Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden, which will join the cruise line’s existing three ships in November; six Princess Cruises’ ships, including Golden Princess on its maiden Australian deployment, and two Carnival Cruise Line ships.
Meanwhile, three Holland America Line ships will sail here over summer including Noordam on its maiden visit, along with world voyage visits by all three Cunard Queens, two ships from P&O Cruises World Cruising and one Seabourn vessel.
Sherry said food was now “a rally imporatant part of people’s holiday experience”. One of the standout features of cruise season was the vast quantities of Australian primary produce that Carnival Australia’s brands purchase including around 1.5 million kilograms of beef annually. She also mentoined 200,000 kilograms of lamb.
“The huge quantities we purchase in a typical year making the local agriculture sector one of the big winners from cruising,” Sherry said.
In similar vein, celebrity chef Curtis Stone stepped aboard Diamond Princess after it arrived at Circular Quay to kick off the Australian summer cruise season.
It was the first chance for the Australian-born restaurateur and chef to experience a locally-based Princess ship since partnering with the cruise line.
The exclusive partnership will see culinary offerings designed by Curtis served across Princess’ 18-ship fleet, including “Crafted by Curtis” menu items which will be available in the main dining room across all ships and Curtis’ first restaurant at sea – SHARE – to be introduced on select Princess’ ships.
Written by Peter Needham