Princess Cruises’ celebrity chef Curtis Stone was the star turn on megaliner Diamond Princess in Sydney today as Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry launched this summer's spectacular cruise season and released figures showing the vast quantities of produce sourced in Australia.

The roll call of food purchases for Carnival Australia ships is stunning, involving more than 6.5 million eggs, 1.9 million litres of milk and cream, 3.1 million kg of fresh vegetables, 2.3 million kg of fresh fruit, 1.9 million kg of meat, 658,000 kg of poultry and 482,950 kg of seafood.

And in keeping with the food theme, the launch was a celebration of the many Australian fresh food and wine suppliers who benefit from the $4 billion a year cruise industry and its long economic value chain.

A cavalcade of forklifts delivered tonnes of fresh produce to the 116,000-tonne Diamond Princess at the Overseas Passenger Terminal for the ship's 2700 passengers, who will depart on the superliner’s first roundtrip cruise of the season from Sydney this evening.

Adding to the excitement of the day, Australian chef Curtis Stone was onboard Diamond Princess during its Sydney call, making the most of his first opportunity to see a Princess ship in Australian waters since the recent announcement of his partnership with the leading cruise line. The celebrity chef will soon be rolling out his new restaurant, SHARE, on select Princess ships, while Curtis Stone menu items will be added to all main restaurant menus across the 18-ship fleet. Princess’ guests will also be able to enjoy a special ‘Chef’s Table by Curtis Stone’ experience.

In launching the company's record cruise season, Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry said an unprecedented 22 ships from the company’s seven iconic brands would be sailing in local waters – nearly a quarter of Carnival Corporation’s worldwide fleet. Between them, they will carry more than 530,000 cruisers – more than the population of Tasmania.

Highlights of Carnival Australia’s 2015-16 cruise season include:

● 538 turnaround calls and visits to Australian ports by Carnival Australia ships from today through to the end of April 2016 -- 21% more than in 2014-15

● The 22 ships sailing in Australian waters include P&O Cruises (five with the addition of Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden), Princess Cruises (six) and Carnival Cruise Line (two).

● Three Holland America Line ships will sail here over summer along with world voyage visits by all three Cunard Queens, two ships from P&O Cruises World Cruising and one Seabourn vessel.

"Each year for the past decade we have announced that another record summer cruise season is imminent and, with more than one million Australians a year now cruising, this year is no exception," Ms Sherry said.

"In 2005-2006, we heralded a bumper cruise season with 10 ships from across our fleets sailing locally and making 141 calls to Australian ports. A decade on the number of ships has more than doubled and the number of local calls has more than tripled.

"One of the standout features of cruise season is the vast quantities of Australian primary produce that Carnival Australia’s brands buy in a typical year making the agriculture sector one of the big winners from cruising."

Between them, Carnival Australia brands are responsible for massive purchases of meat, fruit, vegetables, dairy and wine – accounting for around 1.5 million kg of beef purchases alone in a typical year. Key purchases include:

Princess Cruises

● 1.4 million kg of fresh vegetables and 1.1 million kg of fresh fruit

● 188,083 kg of beef for local ships and 600,000 kg across the rest of Princess’ global fleet

● 57,196 kg of lamb locally (Princess Cruises exclusively uses Australian lamb globally)

● 226,425 dozen eggs, 600,000 individual yoghurts and 493,736 litres of milk

P&O Cruises Australia

● 1700 tonnes of fresh vegetables and 1200 tonnes of fresh fruit

● 380,000 kg of fresh seafood and 600,000 kg of poultry

● 580,000 bottles of wine (mostly Australian vintages)

Carnival Cruise Line

● 1.9 million kg of produce

● 600,000 litres of milk

● 300,000 kg of rice and 300,000 kg of flour

Holland America Line 

18,232 kg of beef, 32,018 kg of poultry and 7,099 kg of lamb

 139,989 litres of milk products

 545,040 individual eggs

"Cruise tourism continues as the standout success of the Australian tourism sector and with every cruise season the number of suppliers who benefit from its long value chain continues to grow," Ms Sherry said.

About Carnival Australia:

Carnival Australia is part of Carnival Corporation & plc and is a ‘house of brands’ accounting for seven of the world's most popular cruise brands, P&O Cruises Australia, Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Cunard Line, fathom, Holland America Line, Seabourn and P&O Cruises World Cruising. Carnival Australia is the industry leader representing approximately 80 per cent of the Australian and New Zealand cruise market.

For more than 80 years our local ships have pioneered new experiences and destinations for our passengers in the region while our international ships have brought hundreds of thousands of visitors to see this part of the world. Carnival Australia has led world leading industry growth and made cruising the fastest growing sector of Australian and New Zealand tourism with more than one million Australians cruising last year, a landmark achieved a full six years earlier than the 2020 target we set.