Cruise

“If you don’t have Sydney in the itinerary, it’s hard to sell”: Steve Odell

Daisy Doctor

Ah, Sydney. Sorry other capital cities. The truth universally acknowledged by the cruise lines is that you can’t sell a cruise from our shores without the Harbour City, and Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Chairman Steve Odell agrees.

“For us, Sydney is the centre of everything. International travellers want to come to Sydney – Sydney is the gateway.

“If you don’t have Sydney in the itinerary, it’s hard to sell,” he said.

And by extension, Sydney’s ports – or lack thereof – are a thorn in the side for the industry that cannot be extracted.

“We want a solution that’s fit for purpose that can accommodate two ships a week,” Royal Caribbean Cruise’s Managing Director Australia & New Zealand, Adam Armstrong, said.

One of the alternatives presented was double stacking, where two ships dock in the same day, in early morning and early evening shifts.

“Double stacking just doesn’t work. It’s not done anywhere else in the world,” Armstrong said.

He instead called for a new large ship cruise terminal for Sydney.

Ponant’s chairman Asia Pacific, Sarina Bratton, agreed.

“Sydney berth constraint is the major obstacle for us. We are the most likely place for Asian ships to bring their ships down to. We’ve got to work together as an industry,” she said.

Beyond Sydney, there lies the appeal of Australian coastal cruising.

“We would all love to do more coastal cruising but we can’t. We can’t get that answer from government. We’re equipped.

“The Coastal Trading Act is designed to protect an Australian cruise industry that doesn’t exist,” Bratton said.

The debate over Sydney’s lacking harbour berths has waged on for some time now.

In April, TW reported on the issue as the discussion reared its ugly head again.

It came amid reports the country’s second biggest cruise company Royal Caribbean Cruises made the decision to stop sending its mammoth Voyager of the Seas to Australia because Sydney doesn’t have the capacity for another ship.

A number of cruise companies are looking at bypassing Sydney in favour of overseas ports, and Melbourne and Brisbane – which are starting to gain more cruise kudos than Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal.

“The NSW market is our biggest market, and we would like more space in Sydney,” Cunard’s Vice President of International Development, David Rousham, told trade media at the time.

“Ultimately there’s real problems in Sydney, for example we don’t fit under the bridge.

“But there’s no easy answer to the problem. We’re one of many ships with the same problem,” Rousham said.

 

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

  • JohnAlwynJones

    i simply do not get it that the NSW Government has not sorted out the ridiculous cruise vessel berthing issue in Sydney, while ports all over the world, even small ones, are leaving them well behind, by providing superb cruise vessel facilities.

    I admire Sarina, Steve, Adam and of course Ann in being very public about this issue, but amazingly even with these global cruise industry’s leaders being based in Australia and an incredibly strong cruise sector , it seems to me that the NSW Government is not listening.

    What sort of Government would invest millions in a cruise port i.e. White Bay or jokingly known as White Elephant Bay, located the other side of a bridge under which most new vessels cannot fit – well the New South Wales Government did.

    In addition with the key Circular Quay susie berth location, ridiculously only able to take one vessel, and with some large vessels only just, it is well overdue that the NSW Government and the Federal Government get their heads together, tell the Navy to get lost form Garden Island and do a deal to convert Garden Island into a state of the art world standard cruise terminal – come on wake up guys, this is all getting ridiculous!

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