Carnival Australia, which operates most of the cruise ships operating to or from Sydney, today welcomed a Federal Government and Royal Australian Navy decision in relation to cruise ship access to Garden Island for the 2014-2015 summer cruise season.
The decision has enabled confirmation of berthing arrangements for Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth during the season in which all three Cunard ships, including flagship Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, will visit Sydney on their world voyages.
Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry said the decision marked some progress in addressing long term cruise planning but greater certainty in relation to ongoing access to Garden Island was needed to match cruise industry growth and port capacity.
“We welcome the decision for the 2014-2015 cruise season when Sydney will again be at the forefront of the world’s fastest growing cruise market as the cruise gateway to Australia and its regional ports,” Ms Sherry said.
“However, because itinerary decisions for cruise ships have to be made years in advance, it is vital for berthing arrangements in Sydney Harbour to be determined on a long term basis to enable proper planning.”
Under existing arrangements announced in July last year, Garden Island accommodated three cruise ships during last summer’s cruise season with another three ships scheduled for 2013-2014.
The Navy has now proposed that Sydney Ports Corporation coordinate shared access of Garden Island as the cruise industry continues to grow along with the level of its value added contribution to the economy.
Cruising is expected to add more than $1 billion to the national, state and regional economies this year with more than 700,000 Australians taking a cruise holiday.
With regional centres now investing in port facilities to attract cruise ship visits, Ms Sherry said it was essential for Sydney to have infrastructure available that was in line with its position as Australia’s cruising gateway.