11 Jun 2022

South Australia's shipshape return to cruising

Princess Cruises – Coral Princess
Princess Cruises – Coral Princess

Cruising will make a buoyant return to South Australia, with more ships set for the State’s shores in 2022-23 than prior to the pandemic.

With 101 cruises scheduled for SA in the upcoming season, it is on track to top the 82 visits made in what was a bumper season in 2018-19 – when the sector contributed $145 million to the State’s visitor economy.

The first cruise ship scheduled for SA is Princess Cruises’ Coral Princess on 17 September. With up to 2000 passengers and 895 crew, the Coral Princess will visit Adelaide, Port Lincoln and Penneshaw on multiple itineraries through to mid-April 2023.

Other cruise ships scheduled for SA between October 2022 and April 2023 include P&O’s Pacific Explorer, Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, and Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas.

In preparation for the resumption of cruising, the South Australian Tourism Commission has been working with industry, SA Health and regional stakeholders – which included welcoming a program of expedition cruises to SA in 2021-22.

Between February 2021 and January 2022, a series of expedition cruises sailed around the State with domestic passengers, helping provide a blueprint for the broader return of cruising.

Cruise ships are returning to an upgraded passenger terminal at Outer Harbor, which includes new seating, an improved design and print and digital welcome signage displaying images of iconic South Australian experiences. The SATC engaged local signage company, Visualcom, to complete the works.

The 101 cruises scheduled for the state in 2022-23 include 20 expedition vessels – a sector of cruising built up in SA in 2021 and one that has flourished during the pandemic.

South Australia will welcome the world’s only ocean liner, the Queen Mary 2, and one of the biggest cruise ships in the world, the Ovation of the Seas, which combined carry around 9000 passengers and crew.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Tourism Zoe Bettison:

The return of cruising signals a major step forward for the recovery of South Australia’s visitor economy.

It’s clear South Australia has remained a destination of choice for cruise lines, with more cruises set for our shores than we saw pre-COVID.

This means more visitors to SA, more expenditure, and more jobs for locals – with on-shore tours spreading the benefits from the city to the Barossa, Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu and Eyre Peninsulas, Kangaroo Island, and beyond.

It is thanks to South Australia’s excellent cruise infrastructure – which includes recent upgrades to the terminal at Outer Harbor to provide a warmer welcome to passengers as they disembark and a widening and deepening of the channel – that some of the world’s largest cruise ships are heading to our state.

Together with the South Australian Tourism Commission, I’ve been working with industry, local government and regional tourism organisations to plan for the return of this valuable sector and maximise the benefits as we work to recover our state’s once $8.1 billion visitor economy.

Quotes attributable to Phil Hoffmann Travel Managing Director Phil Hoffmann:

This is a great opportunity for South Australia and our domestic operators to have the cruise market resume.

To have 101 departures and arrivals in and out of SA is very exciting for the future of cruising and tourism in South Australia.

Quotes attributable to Flinders Port Holdings CEO Stewart Lammin:

We’re excited to welcome back cruise passengers to South Australia. 

In collaboration with SATC, we took the time during Covid to significantly upgrade the passenger terminal here at Port Adelaide to ensure passengers have a smooth transit at the start and end of their holiday.

The port itself is also fully geared up to manage the full range of cruise liners visiting Australian waters during the next season and we look forward to facilitating the inaugural cruise on 17 September.