by Brett Jardine, commercial director CLIA Australasia Brett-Jardine

It’s that time of the year when we are once again on the cusp of an historic summer with Australians’ passion for cruising fuelling the nation’s biggest ever cruise season. Between now and April next year, a record flotilla of cruise ships will sail Down Under. 38 CLIA member cruise ships will visit our shores, with an unprecedented eight ships making their maiden visits to Australia. Last season, Australia welcomed 36 member cruise line vessels, with only three making their inaugural visit.

This jump in maiden ship visits is another clear indicator of the surging popularity of cruising. As cruise lines around the world look for new destinations and new homeports for their ships, it’s clear that Australia is hot property.

From boutique expedition ships to megaliners, this season’s ships will provide a wide range of cruise experiences to cater to all age groups and holidaymaker types.

The 38 ships sailing local waters this summer include nine which are based in Australia year round, another 12 which will be deployed for all or part of the summer cruise season and 17 ships which will visit Australia.

There are some exciting highlights to look forward to including P&O Cruises’ five-ship spectacular in Sydney on 25 November, the deployment of Princess Cruises’ Golden Princess to Melbourne where it will take the mantle as the largest ship ever to be based in Victoria and Royal Caribbean’s first Brisbane season with Legend of the Seas sailing from the Queensland capital.

While Sydney will account for a large proportion of the ship calls, we’re seeing more and more ships cruising to and from other ports. Between them, our member cruise line ships will make more than 800 calls to Australian ports, including an impressive 40 maiden port calls.

Regional towns – from Lizard Island, Gladstone and Port Douglas in the north to Burnie and Hobart in the south – are set to get an increasingly bigger slice of the cruise pie as the economic benefits of cruising are spread right across the country.

With 21 ships making a total of 330 roundtrip cruises from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Fremantle over the 2015-16 summer, cruising is expected to generate more than $300 million for the economy through passenger and crew spending and associated port charges.

The visits are a significant increase on last year’s 253 roundtrip cruises.

With a plethora of fantastic ports, great weather and a population that can’t wait to cruise, it’s easy to see why more cruise lines are sending more ships our way.

We may have reached the magic million mark in 2014, six years ahead of schedule, but there is still a lot of room to grow.

Subscribe To travelBulletin