CLIA celebrates "Stylish Saturday"
When it comes to cruising, Sydney is in hot demand. To have four of the world’s most elegant ships visiting on one day is an extraordinary event - and great news for the local economy.
Sydney is enjoying an extra touch of glamour, with four of the world’s most luxurious ships berthed in the city’s famous harbour – including an unprecedented two vessels at Circular Quay.
Between them the four boutique ships will bring close to 3000 high-end visitors to the city and inject more than $2 million into the economy.
The visit marks the first time in history that two modern cruise ships have shared the Overseas Passenger Terminal (OPT) at the Quay for the day, an event made possible by the boutique size of the vessels, the 142-metre long PONANT Le Soleal and 180-metre long Azamara Quest.
Carrying 200 guests, Le Soleal is one of the youngest ships in the world and is making her maiden visit to Sydney, docking at the OPT this morning alongside 686-guest Azamara Quest which is making her second call to the city as part of her inaugural season in Australia.
Meanwhile the ultra-luxury 458-guest Seabourn Odyssey and Silversea Cruises’ intimate 382-guest Silver Whisper are berthed at White Bay Cruise Terminal in Rozelle.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia Commercial Director Brett Jardine said the visit by four luxury ships was a testament to Sydney’s popularity as a world class cruise destination.
“When it comes to cruising, Sydney is in hot demand. To have four of the world’s most elegant ships visiting on one day is an extraordinary event - and great news for the local economy,” Mr Jardine said.
With many guests disembarking in Sydney and others embarking today, Mr Jardine said the four ships would bring more than 2800 visitors to Sydney.
“Most of the ships’ guests are international tourists so they will be busy spending their time shopping and enjoying the sights of Sydney, while many will have booked a few nights’ pre or post-cruise accommodation in the city,” he said.
“CLIA studies show international passengers cruising from Sydney spend an average $762 a day in the city, while transiting guests spend more than $200 a day, so between guest and crew expenditure, ship provedoring and port charges, we estimate these ships’ visits will inject more than $2 million into the economy in just one day.”
The visits come during Sydney’s busiest ever cruise month, with 27 different ships making an extraordinary 45 calls to Sydney during February. The wave of activity will continue into March, when 17 ships will make 33 calls to the harbour city in just 30 days.
Mr Jardine said the historic dual berthing at the Overseas Passenger Terminal followed the recent upgrade of cruise facilities at Circular Quay by the Port Authority of NSW including the refurbishment of the terminal and the installation of a new mooring dolphin at the northern end of the wharf.
Le Soleal’s visit comes at the end of a five-day cruise from Auckland. She will depart this evening on a nine-night sell-out cruise to Cairns from Sydney. Meanwhile Azamara Quest will depart at 5.30pm on a 17-night East Coast Australia and Bali cruise.
Mr Jardine said more than one million Australians now take a cruise every year, making the nation the fourth largest passenger source market in the world. In total, 38 ships from CLIA member cruise lines will sail in Australian waters this summer, the biggest summer season for the nation yet.
Tourism contributes around $3.5 billion to the national economy, including more than $2.3 billion in New South Wales.
All four cruise lines visiting today confirmed that Sydney was one of their most popular ports of call.
PONANT Chairman Asia Pacific Sarina Bratton said Le Soleal’s maiden visit demonstrated the appeal of Australia on the global cruise stage.
“Ponant continues to make significant investment in Australia and is committed to growing the region as both an important source market as well as a significant destination for our global base of guests, as seen by by the introduction of our Kimberley voyages in 2017,” Ms Bratton said.
Azamara Regional Commercial Director Adam Armstrong said the cruise line was all about the destinations it sailed to.
“There's no port that rates higher amongst our guests than Sydney's Overseas Passenger Terminal. To berth here, side by side with Ponant, demonstrates not only the world class infrastructure in Sydney, but also the growth and demand for this luxury style of cruising,” Mr Armstrong said.
Seabourn Senior Vice President Global Marketing and Sales John Delaney said a visit to Sydney was a key attraction on the ultra-luxury cruise line’s itineraries every summer.
“Next January we’ll be launching the world’s newest luxury ship Seabourn Encore and within weeks it will be visiting Sydney as part of its maiden season, which shows just how popular this city is with our guests,” Mr Delaney said.
Silversea General Manager Australasia Karen Christensen said Silver Whisper’s visit today was representative of the enduring appeal of Sydney.
“Silversea has been visiting not only Sydney but many Australian ports since the company started in 1994, with its luxury presence contributing to the local economy on each call,” Ms Christensen said.
Photo caption: PONANT Le Soleal