The arrival of 317-metre Celebrity Solstice to Port of Newcastle on Wednesday will mark the start of the city’s 2019-20 cruise season.
On the back of recent growth in cruise ship numbers, the region is looking forward to 15 visits this season, suggesting a new record of more than 30,000 cruise passengers could be set.
The season includes three maiden visits for Explorer Dream, Sea Princess and Golden Princess. Explorer Dream will visit Port of Newcastle an impressive six times between Monday 28 October and Monday 2 December 2019.
Distinguishable by their new blue shirts and white hats, Newcastle Cruise Volunteers will be on hand to provide a friendly welcome for cruise passengers. The team of 38 dedicated volunteers share their love of Newcastle and provide expert local advice to ensure passengers get the most out of their time in the city.
Port of Newcastle Executive Manager Marine and Operations Glen Hayward said the continued growth of cruise tourism proved Newcastle was an ideal destination port for the industry.
“With its close proximity to the Newcastle coastline and world class beaches, the rolling vineyards of the Hunter Valley wine region and natural beauty of Port Stephens, Newcastle remains a popular port of call amongst Australian and international guests,” Mr Hayward said.
“We are proud to play a role by facilitating cruise ship visits given the important economic benefits it has for the region and the community.”
The Port has this year invested a further $250,000 in upgrades to its Channel Berth infrastructure to enhance the experience for customers during their visit.
The 2018-19 cruise season was record-breaking, with 16 cruise ships and more than 29,000 passengers visiting the port.
Celebrity Solstice carries 2,852 passengers and is scheduled to visit four times this season.