Our ships keep coming in!
  • Thursday 09 June 2016

P&O cruise ship Pacific Aria will make its maiden visit to the Sunshine Coast on Wednesday June 15 as the first of 18 cruise ship stopovers that are scheduled for our region between now and the end of 2017.

Mayor Mark Jamieson said the extended cruise ship schedule was a major vote of confidence in the Sunshine Coast as a desirable destination for cruise ship visits.

“This is terrific news for the Sunshine Coast and for our local businesses and tourism operators who have done a fantastic job in accommodating cruise ship guests and helping our region achieve an excellent reputation as a cruise ship destination over the past 12 months,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“We achieved one of the best reviews of all the ports in Australia and the South Pacific from passengers on the very first cruise ship that arrived here this time last year and since then we’ve become even better at showing cruise ship guests a great time during their visits.   

“To have 18 scheduled stopovers between now and the end of next year equates to a potential $4.5 million economic injection for local businesses over that period because each cruise ship visit is worth an estimated $250,000 to the local economy and the positive impacts from previous visits have been felt throughout the region including in our Hinterland communities.”

“The other terrific upside to this is that around 60% of cruise ship passengers who visit a port will return there in the future.

“Council has also worked very hard with Visit Sunshine Coast to encourage and support the arrival of cruise ships to our region.

“Our staff recently attended the Brisbane Cruise Forum to negotiate with cruise ship representatives for more visits here in the future and to expand the range of tours and attractions we can offer to visitors while they’re here.

“The Australian cruise market has grown significantly over the past decade so it’s a real positive for the Sunshine Coast to be able to tap into this rapidly expanding tourism market.”

A Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) report revealed the number of Australians taking an ocean cruise reached a new record of 1,058,781 in 2015. The report also showed the number of Australian ocean cruise passengers has quadrupled in the past eight years and more than doubled since 2010.

Cruises to domestic destinations also grew by 42% to 269,915. Australia’s cruise market growth was second only to China (www.cruising.org.au).

Kangaroo Bus Lines General Manager Darren Webster said more cruise ships meant more opportunities for local businesses.

“Previous cruise ship visits to the Sunshine Coast have been busy for us with numerous bookings to transport up to 300 passengers from the Wharf at Mooloolaba to various local attractions including Hinterland destinations, he said.

“So these visits are great for us from a business point of view and certainly positive for the communities and attractions we transport passengers to and from during these day long stopovers.”

Manager-owner of the Edge Restaurant at Montville, Adele Smith said the positive impacts from cruise ship visits were being felt right around the region.

“We have experienced busier than usual days and a large number of our customers on these days have told us they’re cruise ship guests who were touring the Hinterland for the day,” she said.

Visit Sunshine Coast Acting CEO Simon Latchford said cruise tourism is an important factor in growing the reputation of the Sunshine Coast as a favourite holiday destination.

“The Sunshine Coast has gone from strength to strength in proving to be a popular destination for cruise itineraries. There is a very robust schedule of ships set to visit over the coming year including the addition of Seaborn which will visit the port of Mooloolaba for the first time in 2017,” Mr Latchford said.

“There’s no doubt our swift growth in the cruise market can be attributed to our region’s beachside culture, local food, nature, attractions and the warm Sunshine Coast welcome from our friendly Visitor Information Centre volunteers.

“All the research highlights passengers who have a pleasurable experience during a stopover are likely to talk about the experience and return to the destination for a longer, dedicated visit in the future.

“The increasingly impressive and positive port scores we have achieved over the past year have proven we are a real player in cruise tourism and we will continue to work with council and tourism partners to encourage more new shipping lines to visit Mooloolaba and the Sunshine Coast.”

Cruise ship arrivals 2016/17:

  • Pacific Aria – 15th June 2016
  • Pacific Jewel – 27th June 2016
  • Pacific Jewel – 10th August 2016
  • Carnival Spirit – 16th August 2016
  • Pacific Pearl – 4th September 2016
  • Pacific Jewel – 24 October 2016
  • Pacific Pearl – 26 November 2016

Next year:

  • Pacific Jewel – 6 January 2017
  • Seaborn Encore – 30 January 2017
  • Pacific Jewel -22 February 2017
  • Seaborn Encore – 8 March 2017
  • Carnival Spirit – 7 May 2017
  • Pacific Jewel 28th May 2017
  • Pacific Jewel – 1 August 2017
  • Pacific Explorer – 2 August 2017
  • Pacific Explorer – 21 August 2017
  • Pacific Explorer – 28 August 2017
  • Pacific Eden – 22 December 2017