Pacific Explorer returns to Adelaide for record cruise season

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Sporting a giant ‘We love SA’ banner on its bow, P&O Cruises Australia flagship Pacific Explorer arrived in Adelaide yesterday, kicking off a record cruising season in South Australia and the start of the first of the flagship’s two local cruise seasons.

The twin seasons begin with three round-trip cruises from Adelaide, including calls to Kangaroo Island and Port Lincoln, and the fourth cruise from Adelaide ends in Melbourne for a cruise season that also involves calls to South Australia.

Pacific Explorer’s second Adelaide season begins on 24 February with the first of seven round-trip cruises, including a voyage to New Zealand. The eighth cruise from Adelaide ends in Fremantle after calls to Albany and Busselton, the gateway to the Margaret River wine district.

This is all part of a summer 2022-23 cruise season, with ships from five Carnival Australia cruise lines making 72 calls to South Australian ports, generating almost $65 million in economic activity.

“Carnival Australia is the main cruise organisation in Australia representing seven distinctive cruise brands with ships from five of them sailing in South Australian waters adding to a vibrant local summer cruise season,” said president of Carnival Australia and P&O Cruises Australia Marguerite Fitzgerald.

“With such a variety of brands and ships catering for all sections of the cruise market, we are best placed to home port in Adelaide as we are now doing with Pacific Explorer.

“As Pacific Explorer begins the first of two Adelaide seasons, we wish to thank Premier Peter Malinauskas and the South Australian Government for their strong support.”

The return of such a strong summer cruise season has been strongly welcomed by local suppliers, including South Australian tour operator Peter Crettenden whose Swagabout Tours specialises in Port Lincoln tours and ‘step on guiding’ for cruise tour groups in Adelaide.

When cruising stopped, Crettenden’s summer business was decimated, and he’s been looking forward to the return of cruise ships.

“That was essentially my summer business gone, so I am very pleased to see the ships back again and certainly everyone is glad to be sailing again,” Crettenden said.

SA Minister for Tourism Zoe Bettison said it was now ‘plain sailing’ for the return of cruising in the state, signalling a multi-million-dollar boost for the visitor economy.

“Pre-pandemic, the cruise industry was worth $145 million to our state; it brings international tourists who will spend in South Australia, and it means more work and more jobs for South Australians,”
Bettison said.

“Today, we’re full speed into the season, bringing tens of thousands of visitors to South Australia to experience our city, our world-class wine regions and produce, and impressive destinations from the
hills to the coast.

“We’re not just restarting this key tourism sector, we’re also welcoming more cruises to South Australia than ever before. With 104 visits, we’re blowing the previous record of 82 out of the water.”

Tim Cooper, managing director of Coopers Brewery, a key SA supplier to Carnival Australia, said: “The cruise industry provides opportunities for local producers to showcase our state’s great produce to visitors from across the world. Coopers is keen to make a good first impression, and we are proud to provide the first taste of South Australia before the guests disembark.”

Phil Hoffman of South Australian-based Phil Hoffman Travel added: “Today sends a clear message that SA is again open to world cruising with so many international cruise ships visiting Adelaide and other iconic SA ports over the summer season.

“The season also offers a great opportunity for many SA residents to be able to homeport out of Adelaide, making cruising from here very hassle-free. Cruising in and out of SA offers travellers wonderful opportunities to sample the great food, wine and iconic destinations and experiences we offer throughout the state. We can look forward to a very successful cruise season.”

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