31 Oct 2022

All aboard for cruising return to Adelaide

The first international cruise ship to Adelaide in more than two and a half years arrives at Outer Harbor today, restarting a once $145 million sector of the state’s visitor economy.

It is one of a record-breaking 104 cruise visits scheduled for South Australia in 2022/23, topping the 82 visits made in what was a ‘bumper season’ in 2018/19.

It follows the first cruise into Kangaroo Island last month, when the Princess Cruises’ Coral Princess arrived at Penneshaw and nearly 1,600 passengers disembarked to explore the region and spend in the local community.

Around 170,000 passengers are expected to arrive in South Australian ports and anchorages this season, providing a boost to businesses across the state as passengers disembark for onshore tours – from the CBD and Adelaide Hills to Barossa and the Fleurieu and Eyre Peninsulas.

The first cruise ship to Adelaide since March 2020, the P&O Pacific Explorer, arrives from Sydney this morning with nearly 1,600 passengers and more than 800 crew.

Passengers this morning will disembark to explore Adelaide or return home, with another 1,600 passengers embarking the Pacific Explorer this afternoon to take a 4-night ‘Southern Getaway’ voyage which includes visits to Port Lincoln on Tuesday and Penneshaw on Thursday.

It is the first of 11 round trip cruises for the Pacific Explorer which start and end in Adelaide – also known as homeporting – providing an additional boost to the local economy through increased visitation, ground transportation and tours, and supplier services such as water and food.

P&O shares a special connection with South Australia, with the state’s iconic brewer, Coopers, supplying the beer on board. A limited-edition Coopers beer, the P&O Pacific Lager, was designed specifically for the cruise line and is served exclusively across the P&O fleet.

Other cruise ships scheduled for South Australia through to April 2023 include Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 – the world’s only ocean liner, with up to 2,691 passengers and 1,250 crew; and Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas – one of the biggest cruise ships in the world, carrying up to 4,180 passengers and 1,500 crew.

As part of preparations for the return of cruising, there has been substantial investment in boosting initial impressions on arrival into Adelaide from both the South Australian Tourism Commission and Flinders Port Holdings.

Passengers will be welcomed to a newly refurbished passenger terminal at Outer Harbor, including new seating and air-conditioning, as well as print and digital welcome signage displaying images of South Australia’s tourism icons.

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

"Pre pandemic, cruise 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," she said.

"We saw how successful the first cruise to Kangaroo Island was last month, and how the local community welcomed the hundreds of passengers with open arms.

"Today, we’re full speed into the season which will bring 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 sector of tourism, we’re welcoming more cruises to South Australia than ever before – with 104 visits, we’re blowing the record of 82 ‘out of the water’."

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

"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," she said.

Flinders Port Holdings CEO, Stewart Lammin said it was exciting to welcome back cruise passengers to South Australia, as it has been too long between visits.

"In collaboration with the South Australian Tourism Commission, we took the time during the break to significantly upgrade the passenger terminal here at Port Adelaide to ensure passengers have a smooth transit at either the start or end of their holiday," he said.

"The port itself is ready to manage the full range of cruise liners visiting Australian waters during the season and we have been looking forward to facilitating the arrival of Pacific Explorer today."

Coopers Brewery Managing Director, Dr Tim Cooper AM said the cruise industry provides opportunities for local producers to showcase South Australia’s great produce to visitors from across the world.

"Coopers is keen to make a good first impression and we’re proud to provide the first taste of South Australia before the guests disembark," he said.

Phil Hoffmann Travel Managing Director, Phil Hoffmann said today sent a very clear message that South Australia is open to world cruising again, with so many international cruise ships visiting Adelaide and other iconic South Australian ports over the summer season.

"It also offers a great opportunity for many South Australian residents to be able to homeport out of Adelaide, making cruising from Adelaide very hassle-free. Cruising in and out of SA offers travellers wonderful opportunities to sample the great food, wine and iconic destinations and experiences that are on offer throughout the state. We are looking forward to a very successful cruise season," he said.