The largest cruise ship to visit the region will make its maiden voyage to Port of Newcastle on Sunday 10 February.

Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas is the third largest cruise ship based in Australia at 310 meters long and accommodating up to 4,000 guests and 1,200 crew. During the megaliner’s visit to Port of Newcastle it is estimated passengers will inject more than $600,000 into the Newcastle, Hunter and Port Stephens regional economies.

Port of Newcastle CEO Craig Carmody said Explorer of the Seas’ visit is an important milestone for the port in its biggest cruise season to date.

“Explorer of the Seas’ maiden visit to Newcastle signifies the attraction of Newcastle as a destination port with its proximity to the Newcastle coastline, Hunter Valley wine region and Port Stephens. We are proud to facilitate the cruise tourism economy and the important economic benefits it has for the region and the community,” Mr Carmody said.

“Explorer of the Seas will provide a spectacular image as she passes through the channel and I encourage locals to come and welcome the ship from one of the many great vantage points around the harbour.”

Royal Caribbean’s managing director Susan Bonner said that Explorer of the Seas’ call is one of four to the Port of Newcastle for the 2018/19 cruise season by RCL Cruises, incorporating Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises, bringing more than 12,000 tourists to NSW’s second largest city this summer.

“Newcastle’s vibrant city centre coupled with easy access to world class beaches, coastal countryside and rolling vineyards makes it an incredibly popular port of call amongst both our Australian and international guests. We receive consistently positive feedback from our guests about their time in Newcastle, particularly for friendliness of locals,” said Ms Bonner.

“We’re delighted to be bringing Explorer of the Seas to Newcastle twice this season, returning on Saturday 16 February. Our sister company Celebrity Cruises has called at Newcastle twice already this summer, and looking ahead to next season, we can’t wait to bring our guests here on four occasions”.

Following maritime tradition Port of Newcastle and Royal Caribbean Captain, Kjetil Gjerstad, will exchange a commemoratory plaque on the ship’s bridge to mark the maiden voyage. Captain Kjetil Gjerstad will then assist in a cannon fire at Fort Scratchley in the afternoon before departing. Explorer of the Seas is expected to berth at Channel Berth in Carrington at approximately 8am and depart the port at approximately 5pm.

2018/19 Cruise Season at Port of Newcastle

The 2018-19 cruise season was set to be one of the biggest yet with 16 vessels to visit the port.

Explorer of the Seas is the largest passenger cruise ship to visit Port of Newcastle. It will make its debut visit to the Port of Newcastle on 10 February 2019 and will return on 16 February.

The season includes seven maiden visits, including Caledonian Sky, Viking Orion, Black Watch, La Laperouse, Explorer of the Seas, Seaborne Encore and Noordam. February is the biggest month for cruise on record for the Port of Newcastle welcoming more than 10,000 passengers to the region across four ships in 10 days (between 6 Feb and 16 Feb).

Key Facts about Explorer of the Seas:

Guests onboard come from a range of different nationalities, including guests from Australia, New Zealand, US, UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, Brazil, China, France, Mexico and Spain. Crew come from 55 different nationalities.

Explorer of the Seas boasts 15 passenger decks and after a multimillion dollar revitalisation in 2015, she boasts incredible features like the FlowRider surf simulator, ice skating rink, rock-climbing wall, mini golf course and basketball court as well as 10 restaurants and 9 bars/lounges.

Explorer of the Seas is known for her Royal Promenade – an interior boulevard that runs the length of the ship flanked by restaurants, lounges and boutiques where spectacular parades and evening dance parties are held.

Each day, staff prepare 22,000 meals for guests and crew. On a typical seven day cruise, guests and crew can consume 14,000 steaks, 75,000 eggs and more than 10,000kg of flour.

Thanks for David Deihm Photography for the attached shot of Explorer of the Seas departing the Port of Newcastle.

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