In a winning trifecta for Melbourne, three cruise ships will berth at Station Pier for the Spring Carnival this week marking the single biggest injection of punters to the Melbourne Cup and pouring more than $6 million into the economy during their stay.
P&O Cruises’ Pacific Jewel and Pacific Pearl will arrive tomorrow morning at 8am while sister line Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Spirit will dock at 6am on Tuesday. Between them the three ships will carry about 6000 guests, accounting for an estimated 10 per cent of all people visiting Melbourne for the Cup, and about 5 per cent of total race attendees.
With the three ships each spending three days docked at Melbourne’s port, the historic cruise visit is the biggest on record for the city - a winning ticket worth an estimated $6.5 million to the State’s economy in passenger and crew expenditure, port fees and racing activity.
The cruise punters will contribute approximately $3.5 million to the Melbourne Cup through entry, upgraded tickets and transport on the day, which are all included as part of their cruise fare, as well as betting and food and drinks at the track.
Almost half of P&O Cruises’ guests (1650) have opted to upgrade from general admission to a VIP package at a cost of $400,000.
Meanwhile the 130 buses hired to transport the thousands of punters to and from Flemington cost more than $120,000 and require their own Flemington paddock to park for the day.
During their stay in Melbourne, P&O Cruises’ punters will enjoy shore tours and special racing activity including an exclusive behind the scenes tour of Flemington, tickets to the official Cup brunch and shopping excursions to pick up any last-minute accessories.
P&O Cruises, which has been sending ships to the Cup since Orcades III first sailed to the event in 1969, will cement its place amongst the glamorous Spring Carnival festivities this year with its first VIP area at Flemington - the P&O Cruises Lawn.
The strong field of onboard race-themed activities range from fascinator-making classes with Australia’s top milliner Kim Fletcher, “fashions at sea” with style commentator Melissa Hoyer and special guest speakers including legendary Melbourne Cup jockeys Wayne Harris and Malcolm Johnston and owner of Cup winning horse Rogan Josh, Wendy Green.
Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry said the sell-out Melbourne Cup cruises were one of the most popular main event offerings, prompting the cruise operator to up the odds to the entire P&O Cruises fleet next year.