Port of Newcastle will officially launch its 2017/18 cruise season this weekend, coinciding with a national travel publication naming Newcastle as one of the world's top emerging cruise destinations.
Escape, the Sun Herald's travel lift-out, placed Newcastle eighth in its list of up-and-coming cruise destinations, thanks to its thriving bar and café scene and cruise terminal development. The publication also named destinations including Iceland, Madagascar and Cuba in the line-up.
On Saturday 7 October, 1,950 passengers on board the first cruise ship of the season, the Sun Princess, will have a chance to explore everything Newcastle has to offer for themselves. The Princess Cruises vessel is due to arrive in the Port at 7am and will dock at the Channel Berth at around 8am.
Between October 2017 and April 2018, 10 ships and approximately 21,000 passengers will visit Newcastle. This season the Port will also welcome three maiden visits and a new cruise line to the region, Norwegian Cruise Line.
Highlights for the season include:
- 10 vessels from seven cruise lines will be visiting Newcastle, ranging from luxury to smaller expedition style ships designed to carry small groups of passengers, to some of the largest vessels in the Australian cruise market.
- Port of Newcastle welcomes the return of Cunard's Queen Elizabeth on 1 March 2018.
- Norwegian Cruise Line, will make its maiden voyage to Newcastle with the arrival of the Norwegian Jewel on 21 February 2018.
- The largest cruise ship to visit the Port of Newcastle, Celebrity Solstice, will visit twice this season - 3 January 2018 and 31 March 2018.
- Pacific Eden, Regatta and Norwegian Jewel will make their maiden visits to the Port of Newcastle.
The Australian Cruise Association estimates that cruise shipping currently delivers $11 million to the region's economy. Shore excursions available for passengers this season include food and wine tours of the Hunter Valley, dolphin cruises at Port Stephens and sandboarding at Stockton sand dunes. Shuttle bus services will efficiently transport cruise ship passengers between the Channel Berth and Queens Wharf.
Port of Newcastle CEO, Geoff Crowe, said the Port was thrilled to be welcoming even more visitors to Newcastle this cruise season.
"The cruise season brings a really positive atmosphere to our harbour city. I see many people taking the opportunity to explore Newcastle's city centre on foot, taking in our picturesque harbour and doing some shopping," said Geoff.
"I recommend local tourism businesses refer to the cruise schedule published on the Port of Newcastle website for a full listing of when the cruise ships are visiting, the times and the passenger capacity of each ship so they can prepare accordingly," added Geoff.
The 2017/18 cruise season will be delivered alongside the construction of the $12.7 million cruise terminal development, which is on track for completion at the end of 2018.
"From early 2018 the Channel Berth will be a hive of activity as construction commences. I look forward to shortly revealing the terminal design and announcing the appointment of the lead construction firm," said Geoff.
The best vantage point to watch the cruise ships arriving and departing is the Newcastle or Stockton Foreshore. The Channel berth is not accessible to the public. Each ship will receive a three gun salute from Fort Scratchley on departure.
World's top 10 emerging cruise destinations for 2017-18
Sarah Kiely, Communications Officer, via the Port of Newcastle media line: 61 2 4908 8214.