A new Cruise Development Plan released by the New South Wales government earlier this year promises to look into the viability of more cruise berths in Sydney, either at Molineaux Point or Yarra Bay, said Sandra Chipchase, CEO, Destination NSW.
While that gets worked out, the Australian state continues to see strength in its cruise business, with Sydney serving as the country’s premier homeport, with 341 ship calls over the course of the 2017-2018 cruise season.
A new terminal is under construction in Newcastle and set for completion in 2019, opening the port up to turnaround potential. Newcastle welcomed 11 cruise ship visits during the 2017-2018 season, doubling the previous year.
“The Explorer of the Seas will make its maiden visit to Newcastle in February,” Chipchase said. “The vessel will return to Newcastle in 2020 and highlights the port’s capability to handle the largest Voyager-class cruise vessels in operation and its ability to accommodate further growth in the coming years.”
Regional NSW ports including Eden and Wollongong have also been promised potential infrastructure funding options, according to the plan.
The latter has two calls scheduled this coming season, and is looking forward to a maiden visit from the MSC Magnifica in 2019-2020.
Eden will see its cruise traffic rise to 17 calls from 14. Under construction is a berth expansion to enable ships up to 325 meters in length to berth, with a completion date of February 2019.
“With a wide range of features and attractions, the four NSW cruise ports complement each other and appeal to differing segments of the cruise market,” Chipchase said. “Growth in demand for cruise has created capacity constraints in Sydney.
“The NSW government is working closely with industry stakeholders to find a solution and the plan outlines a number of recommendations in this regard including maximizing the use of the Overseas Passenger Terminal and White Bay Cruise Terminal.”