Australians’ passion for cruising has fuelled the nation’s biggest ever summer cruise season, with a record flotilla of cruise ships sailing Down Under over the coming months – including many newcomers to our shores.
According to peak cruise industry body Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia, 38 ships from its member cruise lines will sail in Australian waters this summer, with an unprecedented eight ships making their maiden visits to Australia. Over the 2014-15 summer cruise period, 36 CLIA member cruise ships visited Australia, including three ships making their inaugural visit.
CLIA Australasia Commercial Director Brett Jardine said the growth in maiden ship visits was another clear indicator of the surging popularity of cruising.
“Cruise lines around the world are looking for new destinations and new homeports for their ships – and Australia is hot property right now,” Mr Jardine said. “Not only do we have fantastic ports to visit and great weather, we also have a population that can’t wait to cruise, and that’s encouraging more cruise lines to send more ships our way.”
Mr Jardine said the eight ships making their maiden visits this summer ranged from superliners to boutique-sized ships, providing a wide range of cruise experiences.
“The huge range of ships now calling to Australia just illustrates that cruising is popular across all age groups and holidaymaker types – there really is a cruise ship for everyone.”
Mr Jardine said more than one million Australians took a cruise in 2014, with Australia leading the world in terms of growth in cruise passenger numbers and market penetration.
CLIA’s new cruise season statistics, which coincide with the start of CLIA’s fourth national Cruise Week promotion, show that there will be 38 member cruise line ships cruising local waters over the peak summer cruise season which runs from the end of September through to April 30, 2016. Between them, the ships will make more than 800 calls to Australian ports.
The cruise season will kick off with the arrival of Princess Cruises’ Diamond Princess in Sydney on September 29, with the ship based in Sydney for a season of 14 cruises over summer.
The bumper 2015-16 season will see Azamara Club Cruises make its first ever call to Australia with its ship Azamara Quest arriving in local waters in January 2016. Other ships making their Australian debut during the season include Costa Cruises’ Costa Luminosa, Holland America Line’s Noordam, P&O Cruises’ Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden, Ponant’s Le Soleal, Princess Cruises’ Golden Princess and Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas.
Across the country there will be an impressive 40 maiden port calls by cruise lines to a range of cities and regional towns from Lizard Island, Gladstone and Port Douglas in the north to Burnie and Hobart in the south, helping to spread the economic benefits of cruising nationwide.
Mr Jardine said 21 ships would make a total of 330 roundtrip cruises from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Fremantle over the 2015-16 summer, with these cruises expected to generate more than $300 million for the economy through passenger and crew spending, provedoring and associated port charges.
The figures are a significant increase on last year’s 253 roundtrip cruises.