The Port of Newcastle’s cruise season is well underway commencing with the "double header" visits by the Pacific Dawn and the Pacific Jewel in November last year.
(Celebrity Solstice sails into Newcastle Harbour. Photo: Chris Patterson)
All up Newcastle will welcome 11 cruise ships and approximately 18,000 passengers over the 7 month period – ending in May 2016. Highlights include five maiden visits andthe return of the high-end luxurious cruise line, Silversea. The cruise season is expected to inject as much as $11 million dollars into the region’s economy. (source: Australian Cruise Association).
Visiting cruise ships dock at the Channel Berth at Carrington, which offers deep water berthing and plenty of parking for coaches, which transport passengers to and from shore. It also offers a panoramic view of the city and beaches. Port of Newcastle provides a free shuttle bus service for cruise ship passengers, from the berth to Queens Wharf, which runs continuously throughout the day.
An array of tourism experiences showcasing our stunning region are also available for passengers, including food and wine tours of the Hunter Valley, dolphin cruises at Port Stephens, Newcastle city highlights and many more niche experiences the region offers.
Many passengers take the opportunity to explore Newcastle’s city centre on foot and do some shopping. It is here that the local community provide a vital connection to the destination.
Visiting passengers of a cruise line like to get an insight into the local life, and the people they meet along the way are often the most accessible and authentic way to do this.Just as important is whether shops and attractions are open, or would be prepared to open, after hours, on weekends and public holidays.
This month the Port of Newcastle will play host to 3 cruise ships - the Silver Whisper on the 15th of February, the Radiance of the Seas on the 19th of February and if you make your way to the Newcastle or Stockton Foreshore at 7am on the 22nd you will witness the Queen Elizabeth, Cunard’s newest luxury liner, make her maiden voyage to Newcastle as she sails into the Port with approximately 2547 passengers on board. The arrival of the Queen Elizabeth marks the first time the world famous Cunard Cruise line has included Newcastle on its itinerary.
The Queen Elizabeth will then depart for Brisbane that same day at 6pm. Listen for the deafening thunder of cannons as Port of Newcastle has arranged for each ship to receive a traditional three gun salute from Fort Scratchley on departure.
Port of Newcastle CEO, Geoff Crowe, is thrilled with the increased number of maiden voyages to Newcastle.
"The cruise season brings a really positive vibe to our harbour city. I look forward to joining the onlookers lining the harbour as we welcome these impressive vessels and the thousands of passengers they bring to the region," said Geoff.
"We particularly look forward to welcoming our new cruise customers to the port, adding a truly international mix of visitors from all corners of the globe to the Hunter."
The cruise season continues into March and May with the Pacific Aria and Celebrity Solstice once again returning to Newcastle in March. May sees the return of the Pacific Dawn and the Insignia - the luxury cruise line of Oceania Cruises will also be making a maiden voyage in May. To view the cruise schedule for the current season, visit www.portofnewcastle.com.au/Commercial-Opportunities/Cruise/Cruise-Schedule-2015-2016.aspx