Lack of ports set to hurt Australian cruises

Sydney’s crown as the cruise capital of Australia is slipping.

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

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?



    To make a comment, please register or login
    29th Sep 2018
    We also have a berth at white’s bay in Sydney, we just need better transport options, the problems regarding berthing options in Sydney especially at circular quay have come about because of the loss of berths at Barangaloo and an increase in the popularity surge for cruising, which I don’t think anyone predicted, Australia has had the highest growth of cruising in the world, our embarkation is one of the better ones around, so all in all I think we do pretty well.
    29th Sep 2018
    Framantle Port has become almost redundant for cruising in the past two years. It is a very good port with attracggions almost at the doorstep of the Passenger Terminal. Very under utilised.

    29th Sep 2018
    White Bay cannot be used by the majority of cruise ships because they cannot sail under the Harbour Bridge. The only berth is Circular Quay unless they anchor in the harbour and use lighters to transport passengers.

    The answer is simple, close down Garden Island as a naval base and move the naval base further north where it will be more available in case of an emergency. I see no threat coming from the south unless Tasmanians take up arms. Rebuild Garden Island as a cruise terminal.
    29th Sep 2018
    It’s mainly Royal Caribbean that can’t get under the bridge, P&O, Carnival, MSC, Holland America. Princess Cruises, Star Line, some of Celebrity can get under the bridge, the transport problems in getting to white’s bay is a bit of a problem, there doesn’t seem to be enough taxi’s and public transport is too far away, you can get a shuttle bus if the cruise line operates one.
    2nd Oct 2018
    I'll be happy when Brisbane's port is finished and we will, hopefully, get more cruise ships going to different locations.

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