In a stunning demonstration of the surge in cruising in Australia, P&O Cruises today announced that all five ships in its newly expanded fleet will sail into Sydney Harbour in a spectacular parade on November 25 next year.
The cavalcade of cruise ships will underline P&O Cruises’ status as Australia’s iconic home brand, offering the largest number of ships located year round in Australian ports.
The nation’s cruising gateway, Sydney has never before hosted five cruise ships from one cruise line on the same day. The P&O Cruises’ spectacular will bring more than 15,000 interstate and local passengers and crew to the heart of the city, and attract thousands of onlookers.
P&O Cruises’ fleet expansion reaffirms Sydney’s position as the major hub of Australian cruising, with NSW travellers set to enjoy even more cruise holiday options while Sydney and regional ports such as Eden and Newcastle will reap the economic benefits from the growth in cruising.
Detailing its new 2015-16 program, the cruise line said both of its latest ships – Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden – would sail on cruise itineraries from Sydney for part of the year, alongside Pacific Jewel and Pacific Pearl. In total the ships will make a record 96 sailings from Sydney in 2016, 35 per cent more than scheduled for 2015.
“Last year nearly 834,000 Australians took a cruise holiday and P&O Cruises’ addition of two more ships will help the industry achieve its goal of a million passengers a year in 2015, five years ahead of schedule,” said Ann Sherry, CEO of P&O Cruises.
“Sydney is clearly the epicentre of growth for cruising, which is the most successful sector of Australian tourism,” Ms Sherry said.
The unprecedented Sydney season is a major highlight of P&O Cruises’ record-breaking 2015-16 program which features 250 cruises from eight different homeports across its five-ship fleet following the November 2015 arrival of Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden
In addition to the November 25 spectacular featuring the two latest ships plus Pacific Pearl, Pacific Dawn and Pacific Jewel, highlights of P&O Cruises’ new Sydney program include:
- Four ships on Sydney Harbour on Australia Day 2016, with two special holiday cruises from Sydney, along with one cruise from Brisbane and one from Melbourne
- A record 38 P&OSeabreaks from Sydney with the four-night cruises visiting ports such as Moreton Island, the Sunshine Coast, Mornington Peninsula, Melbourne and the Hunter Valley
- A 12-night Queensland Coast “Ultimate” Great Barrier Reef itinerary including Cooktown, Port Douglas, the Whitsundays and the new port of Gladstone (gateway to the Southern Great Barrier Reef)
- A seven-night Southern Queensland discovery cruise going to the Sunshine Coast, Gladstone and Moreton Island
- A 12-night Christmas Queensland cruise visiting the Sunshine Coast, Hamilton Island, Cairns, Cooktown, Willis Island (scenic cruising) and Moreton Island.
NSW Deputy Premier and Minister for Tourism and Major Events Andrew Stoner said the fleet expansion would have a positive impact on the State economy and regional tourism.
“Cruise ships are a major part of the NSW tourism landscape, with the industry contributing more than $1.7 billion every year to the NSW economy,” Mr Stoner said.
“That’s why the NSW Government is investing in cruising infrastructure, including $3 million to support a wharf extension at the Port of Eden to accommodate more and larger cruise ships.
“Earlier this year I also announced a new $110 million Regional Tourism Infrastructure Fund to deliver enhanced tourism infrastructure for the regions including cruising infrastructure.”
Tourism & Transport Forum Acting CEO Trent Zimmerman said cruising continued to be one of the great success stories of the Australian tourism industry.
“The homeporting of additional ships in Australia will allow P&O to extend the benefits of the cruise sector to new ports around Australia,” Mr Zimmerman said.
“It’s great news for regional tourism as these itineraries will encourage tourists to explore destinations they may otherwise not have visited.
“Cruise shipping is making a contribution to employment and the economies of towns and cities along the coast and the further expansion of the sector is a welcome addition to an industry that has been identified as a super-growth sector for Australia.”
Cruising now generates more than $3 billion annually in total economic activity with more than a third of it in Sydney alone. P&O Cruises’ fleet expansion means more opportunity for local food and beverage suppliers. The cruise line sources almost all of its supplies from Australian suppliers. In a typical year, P&O Cruises purchases 465,000 kilograms of beef, 589,000 kilograms of poultry, 260,000 bottles of wine (mostly Australian) and 3.3 million eggs from Australian suppliers.
Hunter Valley winery Glandore Estate General Manager Duane Roy said the expansion of the fleet was good news for his winery.
“Being a small wine business, any increase of sales in today’s market is hard work,” Mr Roy said.
“With the introduction of two new cruise ships by P&O Cruises we will see our sale opportunities increase by 66 per cent. Not only do we expect the two new ships will increase direct sales to P&O Cruises, we will also see greater exposure of our brand to a much bigger audience.
“The result of this will undoubtedly lead to Glandore being a more recognised brand in a crowded marketplace – above and beyond what we have already achieved by being a proud supplier to P&O Cruises."
Ms Sherry said the cruise line was pleased that Sydney will increasingly benefit from the long value chain of cruising as it continues to grow as a result of the fleet expansion.
“Most importantly, the fleet expansion means far greater choice of cruise holiday options for our guests reaffirming P&O Cruises as Australia’s pioneering and most popular cruise line,” Ms Sherry said.