Sunday 3 October 2010

Record Flotilla of Cruise Ships in Australia this Summer

With the Australian cruise season starting today, the nation's largest cruise ship operator, Carnival Australia, says it is heading for its biggest season yet, with a record 15 ships from its fleets sailing local waters over the coming months.

Between them, the ships will carry a total of 220,000 passengers during cruise season - a 16 per cent increase on the company's previous milestone of 190,000 passengers, achieved last summer.

Princess Cruises has marked the start of the cruise season in style today (October 1) with its two superliners, Dawn Princess and Sun Princess, making a rare dual appearance in Sydney Harbour for the day.

Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry said the economic contribution of each cruise ship visit or turnaround during the cruise season was equivalent to that of a major public event, confirming the cruise industry as the standout success of Australia's tourism sector.

The cruise season, which runs from October 1 to March 31, covers the period when many international cruise ships head south to enjoy the warmer Southern Hemisphere weather, either basing their ships in Australia or visiting as part of a longer world voyage.

Highlights of the 2010-11 cruise season include the maiden visit of P&O Cruises' Pacific Pearl on February 3 for her inaugural Australian deployment and the first visit of Seabourn Sojourn - the world's newest boutique luxury ship. 

Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle will all enjoy maiden visits by Cunard's newest liner Queen Elizabeth, with a spectacular Royal Rendezvous with her big sister Queen Mary 2 planned in Sydney on February 22-23.

Carnival Australia, which represents six cruise lines, says the company's summer flotilla will range in size from the 450-passenger Seabourn Sojourn to the 2600-passenger Queen Mary 2.

Ms Sherry said the heightened activity was clear evidence of Australia's growing popularity as an international cruise destination, as well as Australians' increasing interest in cruise holidays.

She said Carnival Australia's five locally deployed ships – Pacific Jewel, Pacific Dawn and Pacific Sun in P&O Cruises' fleet and Princess Cruises' Sun Princess and Dawn Princess – will carry 330,000 passengers in 2010. In 2011, passenger numbers will increase by a further 15 per cent to 380,000.

Ms Sherry said every State in Australia would reap the benefit of the company's bumper cruise season with ships calling at ports ranging from Broome in the west to Cooktown in the north and Hobart in the south.

"Over the last five cruise seasons we've welcomed more and more ships to our shores and this coming summer will be no exception. There will be spectacles around the country as Australians flock to the foreshores to get a glimpse of these ships," Ms Sherry said.

"Each ship visit is an economic event in its own right generating at least $1 million in port fees, crew and passenger spending and provisioning on every turnaround.

"This is an industry on a remarkable growth trajectory having contributed $1.2 billion to the national economy in 2007-2008 on the way to carrying a million passengers a year by 2020 with an estimated economic contribution of $3 billion."

Carnival Australia's15 ships include P&O Cruises' Pacific Jewel, Pacific Dawn, Pacific Pearl and Pacific Sun; Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth; Princess Cruises' Sun Princess, Dawn Princess, Sapphire Princess, Diamond Princess and Pacific Princess; P&O Cruises UK's Oriana, Aurora and Arcadia and Seabourn's Sojourn.

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