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Twin win for Carnival: new terminal and Brisbane ship

June 7, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Carnival Cruise Line, the world’s largest cruise line, is to base a ship in Brisbane and open a new international cruise terminal there in conjunction with the Port of Brisbane.

Arriving in 2020, Carnival Spirit will be the newest and largest ship ever based in Queensland. The announcement followed conditional approval by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) for a new cruise ship terminal in Brisbane.

Carnival Spirit will arrive in its new home in 2020 – same year as the new Brisbane International Cruise Terminal (BICT) will open at Luggage Point.

Carnival Spirit will sail year-round from Brisbane to Vanuatu and New Caledonia, as well as offering shorter cruises to destinations in North Queensland.

Carnival Cruise Line vice-president Australia, Jennifer Vandekreeke, said Carnival had welcomed nearly 75,000 Queenslanders on Carnival cruises from Sydney and Melbourne since 2012.

“We’re delighted to announce that with the new cruise terminal we’ll be able to offer Queenslanders the opportunity to sail on Carnival right from their doorstep.”

Itineraries for Carnival Spirit’s 2020 Brisbane sailings will be announced in a week or so, with bookings opening in early July 2018.

Queensland Transport Minister Mark Bailey, Carnival’s Sture Myrmell, Port of Brisbane Chief Executive Officer Roy Cummins, and Member for Lytton Joan Pease stand on the site of the new terminal

The new terminal, BICT, meanwhile, is expected to generate almost AUD 5 billion in economic value for the Queensland economy within 15 years.

The amended commercial agreement between Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd (PBPL) and Carnival Australia follows conditional approval of the project by the ACCC last month.

Carnival Australia is the only cruise operator to base ships in Australia full-time through its brands of P&O Cruises Australia, Princess Cruises and Carnival Cruise Line. It also represents Cunard, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises UK and Seabourn.

President of Carnival Australia and P&O Cruises Australia, Sture Myrmell, said the new terminal was a “win-win” for cruising, as well as for the Queensland economy.

“It means Brisbane can take its place on the world cruising map for some of the globe’s most iconic cruise lines with ships too large to use existing facilities at Portside,” Myrmell said.

Carnival Spirit

The ACCC authorised the agreement to develop BICT on two conditions, designed to reduce the agreement’s anticompetitive effect and to promote competition and choice for cruise customers.

“We recognise that the deal with Carnival helps to underwrite the projected AUD 158 million investment for the Port of Brisbane to build the new terminal,” ACCC Commissioner Roger Featherston said.

“Brisbane has no dedicated ‘mega’ cruise ship terminal, and the construction of this terminal is expected to increase tourism and deliver a real benefit to the community and the Queensland economy,” Featherston said.

“While we understand the important benefits a dedicated cruise ship terminal would bring to Brisbane, we have concerns that parts of the agreement between the Port of Brisbane and Carnival would limit consumer choice and entrench Carnival as the dominant cruise operator in Brisbane for 15 years. That’s why we have approved this agreement with two conditions.”

The first condition stipulates that while Carnival will still get its choice of four days each week, it cannot book more than two of the three ‘weekend’ days (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) in any given week, which are the most popular and profitable days.

“This means one of these premium weekend days will be available to competitors so other cruise operators can compete with Carnival in Brisbane. If no other operator books the third weekend day, Carnival will be allowed to use it,” Featherston said.

The second condition of authorisation is that if the terminal is expanded in the future to provide a second berth, Carnival cannot be given first right of refusal for an agreement which would give it first choice of days at that berth.

“Our decision means that if a second berth is built, we should see improved competition between cruise lines,” Featherston said.

Carnival is currently the only cruise operator regularly running cruises out of Brisbane, but the ACCC considers this could change over the next 15-18 years.

Written by Peter Needham

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