Aussie ports need “a new plan”: Regent Seven Seas boss

While the Aussie cruise industry is booming, it’s important not to forget about its flaws, namely the trending topic of Aussie ports and berths.

It’s an issue that’s had a fair amount of media attention in recent months and Regent Seven Seas Cruises President and CEO Jason Montague said in the midst of its growing popularity, we do need to keep an eye on what can be improved.

Speaking to Travel Weekly, Montague said, “There’s no doubt that Australia cruising is hotter than it’s ever been before, for international tourists and for Australians.”

“Looking forward, I think it is important for Australian ports to seek a new balance and plan how best to handle the demand and volume of ships and how best to cater to the potential two million Australian cruisers by 2020, as well as international travellers.

“One thing that my line of work has proven to me over and over again, is that this world is very large and filled with countless unique and beautiful destinations. These destinations compete fiercely on a global scale to attract and cater to cruise travellers and ships of all sizes.

“Australia is enjoying a very positive momentum right now, and investing in and enhancing the infrastructure for cruising will help the country continue to enjoy cruising’s economic benefits into the future.”

In April, 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.

Jason Montague

Jason Montague

Discussion about the state of Aussie ports – in particular Sydney’s – is nothing new, and Travel Weekly has spent some time looking into the issue and getting industry figurehead’s responses on the matter.

In June, we sat down with Norwegian Cruise Line’s Executive Vice President of International Business Development Harry Sommer, who views Sydney’s lack of solutions as a major problem if we are to compete with the rest of the world.

It’s pretty clear, certainly here in Sydney anyhow, that the most significant barrier to strong future growth and economic performance is poor port infrastructure.”

This was backed up by Tourism & Transport Forum CEO Margy Osmond who also stressed, “If Sydney is not available as a destination for large cruise liners, the whole country will miss out.

“We are now on the verge of a cruise crisis,” she added.

So how do we keep this crisis at bay?

For Carnival Australia Executive Chairman Ann Sherry, Sydney needs to rework it’s harbour.

“We are nearing crunch point where we need to find a way to unblock the stalemate in Sydney Harbour and find a way of sharing the Garden Island ­facility between Navy and cruising for the benefit of Sydney,” Sherry told News Corp.

Similarly, speaking to The Australian, Viking Cruises Executive Director of Itinerary Development and Nautical and Technical Operations Matt Grimes said, “finding a berth in Sydney was “10 times worse than he expected”.

“It would be great if you could build another couple of berths in Sydney between now and December.”

Amid ongoing debate on the issue, Grimes did add that Sydney’s harbourmaster had been tremendously helpful trying to solve congestion problems.

Email the Travel Weekly team at

    Latest comments
    1. How about while they are looking at improving ports, that they give a Fremantle a good looking at as we agents here in Perth and constantly frustrated by clients who are wanting to sail in and out of Fremantle, especially old travellers as they don’t want to fly. We are basically down to P & O and CMV but people are wanting their Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Cunard & Princess cruises in and out of Fremantle. There’s a massive market and it’s rapidly losing customers.

@australia ann sherry clia jason montague Regent Seven Seas Cruises

Latest News

  • Attractions

Wackadoo! Bluey’s World is set to open in Brisbane

Wackadoo! The eagerly anticipated Bluey’s World is set to open in Brisbane, on 7 November, offering families an unforgettable Bluey adventure with tickets on sale from tomorrow. Bluey’s World is a one-of-a-kind, immersive experience that will take visitors into the Heeler’s iconic family home, backyard and beyond – for real life. Get ready to play […]

  • Destinations

Listening to whales, followed by Ales and Prawn Tails on the Sunshine Coast

Queensland’s Sunshine Coast is preparing to welcome more than 40,000 humpback whales that are making their way up the Australian east coast on their annual migration. The Sunshine Coast is one of Australia’s premier whale tourism destinations, built on its long-established whale watching cruises and Sunreef’s pioneering Swim with Whales experience, which celebrates its 10th […]

  • Aviation
  • Travel Agents

Webjet relaunches partnership with AirAsia with a huge Asia flights sale

Online travel agency Webjet has have relaunched their partnership with AirAsia with a huge Asia flights sale, available until 2 June. To give customers a greater breadth of choice and price point, hundreds of new flight options to Aussie favourite destinations have been added, including Bali, Kuala Lumpur and Bangkok via AirAsia, AirAsiaX, Thai AirAsia […]

  • Luxury

Why luxury clients are opting for immersive experiences over material items

The Luxury Travel Collection’s (LTC) inaugural business owners Soiree took place on Hayman Island last week. The event saw luxury leaders gathering to find out more about the key trends shaping the industry. The Immersion Day, held on Thursday 16 May 2024, followed the growing luxury client trend of valuing immersive experiences over material items. […]

  • Conferences

Empowering underserved communities: Expedia Group’s drive for more inclusive travel

Expedia Group has used the EXPLORE conference at the Aria Resort in Las Vegas to highlight initiatives that empower underserved communities worldwide.   In a groundbreaking move towards fostering diversity and inclusion within the travel industry, Expedia’s Global Social Impact and Sustainability Team is dedicated to shaping a travel landscape that is safe, welcoming, and accessible […]

  • Cruise

P&O rescues Rotary volunteers after collapse of Air Vanuatu

P&O Cruises Australia has answered a plea for help from a group of young Australian Rotary volunteers, stranded in Vanuatu following the collapse of Air Vanuatu. The students, many of them teenagers from Albury, NSW, were volunteering for a youth project run by the Hive Rotary Club Australia when the airline abruptly cancelled all flights, […]

  • Destinations

Intrepid continues expansions with launch of first DMC in Jordan

Intrepid has increased its presence in the Middle East with the opening of its first destination management company in Jordan. Based in Amman, the local team will operate Intrepid’s range of nine experiential small group tours in Jordan from this summer, with a view to expanding the range for 2025 and beyond. Zina Bencheikh, managing […]

  • Appointments

Minor hotels appoints Puneet Dhawan to key Asia role

Global hotel owner and operator Minor Hotels has appointed Puneet Dhawan as head of Asia as the group plots its growth in Asia and India. From July, Dhawan will be responsible for the performance of all Minor Hotels properties in Asia, working in close collaboration with the Minor Hotels senior leadership team and will report […]

  • Appointments

Abercrombie & Kent and Crystal appoint Evon Ler to director of sales, Asia

Abercrombie & Kent Travel Group have announced that Evon Ler will join them in the new role of director of sales, Asia. She will work closely with Tony Archbold (VP, Sales, APAC, Crystal) and Susan Haberle (VP, Sales & Partnerships, APAC, A&K) with trade support across the region. Ler comes to the A&K family with more […]