INTERNATIONAL cruise ships have finally discovered that their passengers want to see far more of Australia than Sydney’s iconic bridge and opera house.
One of the big winners this summer is South Australia which has 29 cruise ships arriving to the state capital, Adelaide, as well as to the regional ports of Port Lincoln, Robe and Kangaroo Island, in a season that runs from now until May.
And it is not just smaller cruise ships that are sailing into these ports as the two largest ships operating in Australian waters this summer – Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas (www.royalcaribbean.com.au) and Celebrity Solstice (www.celebritycruises.com.au) are both visiting South Australia in February.
Voyager of the Seas, with over 5,000 passengers and crew, was the first mega-liner to visit South Australia in 2012, while Celebrity Solstice, with over 4,000 passengers and crew, is also making a return visit to the southern state.
Two mid-size luxury ships that are also sailing to South Australian ports early next year are Silver Shadow (www.silversea.com) and Seabourn Soujourn (www.seabourn.com)
australiancruisingnews.com expects cruise ship numbers to be boosted further in coming seasons after the travel bible, Lonely Planet, named Adelaide as one of the top 10 cities in the world to visit in 2014, www.lonelyplanet.com/best-in-travel-2014
Already 36 cruise ship visits are scheduled for South Australia in the 2014/15 season that will bring more than 97,000 passengers and crew – a significant increase from the 2007/08 summer season when eight cruise ships visited.
South Australian Tourism Minister, Leon Bignell, says his State Government has been working with domestic and international cruise lines to attract more ships and develop more shore-based tours for passengers.
The State already has a big reputation for its award-wining wineries, fresh food markets, diverse scenery, and its indigenous wildlife and marine attractions, www.southaustralia.com