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Delight as P&O Cruises deploys two more ships to Australia

May 21, 2014 Cruise, Headline News No Comments Email Email

egtmedia59In a massive endorsement for Australian cruising potential, P&O Cruises yesterday announced its biggest ever single fleet expansion. The line will deploy two more ships to Australia next year to make it the largest fleet of cruise ships home-ported year-round in Australia.

“With Australian cruise passenger numbers having increased 130% in the past five years and projections of 800,000 cruise passengers in 2013 growing to one million by 2016, P&O Cruises (Australia), one of Carnival Corporation’s 10 brands, will add two ships to its fleet in 2015,” a statement from Carnival’s Miami headquarters stated yesterday.

“With a total of five ships, P&O Cruises will establish Australia’s largest year-round fleet and be well-positioned to continue meeting Australians’ surging demand for cruise vacations.”

The additional ships, which will transfer to P&O Cruises from Holland America Line, will deliver much needed capacity in the world’s fastest growing cruise market.GetawaysbyDusit_Banner250x250

“This is a very exciting development for the Carnival Group, P&O Cruises and for our shipside and shoreside teams who have worked so passionately and effectively to build the business and the cruise category,” said Ann Sherry, chief executive of Carnival Australia, which operates P&O Cruises.

“The P&O brand set the foundation for the resurgence of cruising in this region making it the most successful sector of Australian tourism. Adding two more ships to the fleet is a signal that the next generation of P&O Cruises is about to commence.  It will also accelerate progress in reaching the industry goal of a million passengers a year by 2016 – four years earlier than forecast.

“With the P&O expansion, Carnival Group will have 12 ships home-ported in Australia with fleets from P&O Cruises, Carnival Cruise Lines and Princess Cruises calling Australia home.”

The two ships will join P&O Cruises in November 2015. Work is already underway to develop itineraries and home-porting arrangements for the expanded fleet.

Both ships are of a similar mid-range size to the three existing P&O Cruises ships, Pacific Dawn, Pacific Jewel and Pacific Pearl with a range of onboard features that will be tailored for Australian and New Zealand cruise customers.   

The travel and hospitality industry lost no time in welcoming the move.

Tourism Accommodation Australia (TAA) managing director, Rodger Powell said the two new ships would bring significant benefits to hotels and the wider tourism and hospitality sector.

“When cruise ships are in town hotels are full,” Powell observed, “guests stay before departure and after arrival – so this is terrific news for our members. This will benefit the wider Australian tourism industry as well, because cruise passengers have an important multiplier effect on the domestic economy, spending money on restaurants, shopping and sightseeing.

P&O Cruises five-ship fleet lines up to serve Australia“In 2012-13 the estimated total output of the Australian cruise industry was valued at over AUD 2 billion, including direct expenditure of AUD 1.2 billion, a 20% increase from the year before.

“Importantly, the expansion of P&O Cruises services will benefit both major cities and regional centres. For instance, the Sunshine Coast is looking forward to becoming a new destination for P&O Cruises, while the Gold Coast and Far North Queensland are actively considering upgraded cruise terminals.

“This announcement today is a tremendous vote of faith in the domestic tourism sector.”

Tourism and Transport Forum (TTF) chief executive Ken Morrison said the Carnival P&O decision would deliver “even more job opportunities for the industry and highlights the need for ongoing infrastructure investment to make the most of the cruising boom.

“Australian cruise passenger numbers have increased 130% in the past five years, with the sector on track to carry 1 million passengers by 2016,” Morrison said.

“Cruising presents a great opportunity for Australia’s tourism industry with flow on effects right through the visitor economy. Accommodation providers benefit from the additional demand cruise ships generate, as many people spend a night or two in the departure city before their cruise or on their return.

“They also spend money on shopping, dining out, transport services and visiting attractions, helping to spread the benefits throughout the visitor economy.

“The addition of these ships will help to generate additional spending by passengers, as well as by Carnival Australia as it stocks up on provisions for its voyages. While the addition of these two ships will provide a welcome boost to the visitor economy, it will also add to demand for port facilities in peak season.

“The New South Wales government’s AUD 49-million investment to upgrade Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal (OPT) is a welcome commitment and will allow the facility to accommodate larger ships.”

Cruise ships still needed permanent arrangements so they could share Garden Island with the Royal Australian Navy during the peak of the summer cruise season, Morrison added.

Written by : Peter Needham

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