Cruising from Western Australia is set to surge over the next two years, according to one of the world’s leading cruise lines Princess Cruises, which begins its winter season of sailings from Fremantle today.
With latest figures showing Australians’ passion for cruising is at an all-time high, Princess Cruises Vice President Australia & New Zealand Stuart Allison said the cruise line had put Western Australia on its map for future growth.
Princess Cruises has based a ship in Fremantle every winter since 2008 and recently announced plans to expand its presence to 12 months next year, including its first ever summer season of roundtrip cruises from WA. The move will more than triple the number of cruise passengers sailing from the State and inject more than $30 million into the local economy.
Speaking onboard the 2000-guest superliner Sea Princess in Fremantle today, Mr Allison said the expansion would be a boon for WA, with each ship turnaround in Fremantle estimated to inject close to $1 million into the local economy through supplies, port fees and charges as well as passenger and crew expenditure on items such as shopping, meals, taxis and accommodation.
“Our local shopping list will include thousands of kilograms of fresh fruit and vegetables as well as dairy products and, of course, Western Australian wine,” Mr Allison said.
Mr Allison said Sea Princess’ current winter season, which will run through to September, would see more than 12,000 holidaymakers cruising in and out of Fremantle on seven cruises.
The numbers will increase even further next year when the cruise line will carry more than 45,000 passengers to and from Fremantle from April 2015 to March 2016 on 25 cruises.
Mr Allison said towns like Albany, Busselton, Geraldton and Broome would also benefit from Princess’ cruise ship visits with the cruise line set to make 33 visits to WA regional ports between now and March 2016, with each ship visit estimated to inject up to $500,000 into the economy as passengers explore the local area.
The 2015-16 cruises will be offered by sister ships Dawn Princess (April – August), Sea Princess (September – October) and Sun Princess (October 2015 – March 2016) as well as Diamond Princess and will range from four to 46 nights. Fares start from $639* per person twin-share for a four-night coastal getaway from Fremantle visiting Albany and Busselton.
Princess Cruises’ expansion comes as latest figures from Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia showed that the number of Australian cruise passengers grew by an impressive 20 per cent to 833,348 in 2013. WA cruisers accounted for 8 per cent of the market (67,601 passengers).
“Australia’s record passenger numbers in 2013 cap off a decade featuring a staggering annual growth rate of 20 per cent. Clearly Australian holidaymakers love cruising and we think that Western Australia is part of the future growth story for the industry,” Mr Allison said.
Mr Allison said Princess Cruises’ longer WA season had been made possible by the expansion of its Australian fleet over the 2015-16 summer, when Golden Princess will debut down under to join Sun, Sea, Dawn and Diamond Princess. With a record 5 of its 18 ships sailing in Australian waters, Princess Cruises ranks Australia as its number one market outside America.
For more information on Princess Cruises call 13 24 88, visit www.princess.com or see a travel agent. *Subject to availability, conditions apply.