Port of Newcastle will welcome its first cruise visit of the 2018-19 season tomorrow. Caledonian Sky will launch the season and is due to glide past Nobbys on its maiden voyage to the Port of Newcastle at around 6am.
As one of a number of boutique, expedition-style vessels to visit the Port this season, Caledonian Sky, will berth at West Basin, rather than the Channel berth due to its shorter length.
Highlights for the season include:
- The Voyager-class Explorer of the Seas, the second-largest cruise ship operating on the Australian and Pacific coast, making its debut visit to the Port of Newcastle on 10 February 2019. It will return on 16 February and visit again in 2020.
- 16 vessels, ranging from luxury to smaller expedition-style ships designed to carry small groups of passengers seeking a more bespoke experience, to some of the largest and most luxurious vessels in the Australian cruise market.
- The Port welcomes the return of Celebrity Solstice, with two visits booked in 2018. At 317 metres in length, Celebrity Solstice retains its record as the longest cruise vessel to visit the Port.
- Seven maiden visits, including Caledonian Sky, Viking Orion, Black Watch, La Laperouse, Explorer of the Seas, Seaborne Encore and Noordam.
Port of Newcastle CEO Craig Carmody said the 2018-19 cruise season was set to be one of the biggest yet.
"The 2018-19 season will bring around 28,000 visitors, with many pre-booked onshore excursions to popular tourist destinations across the region," Craig said.
"As with all cruise visits, the passengers bring a buzz to the city centre as the passengers explore the local attractions, including Bathers Way, Fort Scratchley and Hunter Street Mall, on foot."
The Australian Cruise Association estimates that cruise ship visits inject about $11 million per year into the local economy. This includes direct and indirect flow-on benefits from passenger spend, increased foot traffic and patronage during visits and pre-booked shore tours.
"The growth in cruise ship numbers through the Port this season is indicative of the growing popularity of cruising in Australia," Craig said.
"The arrival of Explorer of the Seas highlights the Port's capability to handle the largest Voyager-class cruise vessels in operation and its ability to accommodate further growth in coming years."
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Pictured: The luxury pool deck onboard the Explorer of the Seas.