Australia’s cruise port problem

Sydney’s crown as the cruise capital of Australia is slipping, and recent developments are not helping the situation.

According to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the Harbour Bridge is too low and its berths too few for all the cruise ships that want to come calling at Sydney.

NSW is Australia’s dominant cruise state, with a 58 per cent economic share, followed by Queensland with 21 per cent, and Victoria and Western Australia with 7.3 per cent each. 

Sydney’s capacity constraints are seeing alternative ports receiving more ships, though.

The NSW government recently released its Cruise Development Plan, which highlights the future of the cruise industry in the state, noting congestion in Sydney and promising to explore alternative sites.

One of the key suggestions put forward was to build a new cruise ship terminal in Port Botany, but this has been met with resistance by the Randwick City Council, according to news.com.au.

Aside from Carnival Cruise Lines and its various brands, other cruise lines using Sydney include Royal Caribbean and its sister brand Celebrity Cruises, and Norwegian Cruise Lines.

Royal Caribbean has already sent one of its cruise ships, Voyager of the Seas, to Singapore for the 2017–18 season because of the cost of operating in Sydney and the lack of berths.

A number of cruise companies are looking at bypassing Sydney in favour of overseas ports, and Melbourne and Brisbane are starting to gain more cruise kudos than Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal.

Regional NSW will benefit from the cruise boom as more ships will call at ports outside of Sydney with Eden, Newcastle and Port Kembla seeing a leap in cruise visits.

A total of 15 cruise ships will head for the Sapphire coast and call at Eden as work is already underway to expand Eden’s wharf so it will be able to accommodate larger cruise ships. This will make Eden (population 3,151), the first port of call for ships sailing from New Zealand. Eden will also become a popular stop for Oceania, Regent Seven Seas and Norwegian Cruise Lines over the next 12 months.

Newcastle will receive 10 cruise ships, up from five last year while Port Kembla will host two ships after receiving its first-ever cruise ship the previous year.

Would you like to see more cruise ports in Australia? Where would you like them to be located?

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Written by Ben

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