Sydney could lose its title as the cruising capital of Australia, as more ships are home ported out of Brisbane during the 2015/16-wave season.
Next year, Brisbane will have the same number of P&O ships as Sydney, when the line’s new Pacific Aria joins Pacific Dawn.
Princess will have its biggest year out of Queensland’s capital, with the arrival of Sun Princess in August to November 2015 followed by Sea Princess from November 2015 to April 2016.
And Brisbane will become Royal Caribbean’s second Australian homeport from November next year when Legend of the Seas arrives for a five-month season.
The extra ships will add 8,532 extra beds out of Brisbane a night. This will help boost Queensland’s passenger numbers, which have been going head-to-head with New South Wales.
Queensland had considerably fewer ships than NSW last year but it managed to deliver 200,000 cruisers. That’s only 140,000 less than NSW.
Extra ships could also see Brisbane take business from its Sydney rival, which is considered too far from popular cruise ports.
Although New South Wales has Sydney’s stunning harbour, it doesn’t offer much in the way of unique itineraries, with the majority of itineraries heading out across the Tasman or to the South Pacific.
On the other hand, Brisbane is close to some of Australia’s biggest tourist destinations, including the Great Barrier Reef, Sunshine Coast, Cairns, Port Douglas and the list goes on.
This is particularly desirable for cruise lines like P&O, who are looking for new destinations to send guests on short three-day cruises.
However, Brisbane too has its own problems.
Carnival Australia corporate vice president Peter Taylor said Brisbane lacks the necessary infrastructure to accommodate larger ships.
“Brisbane’s got a river that’s too narrow for the bigger cruise ships,” he told the Herald Sun.
“The new generation of cruise ships is getting larger and larger so a lot of boats can’t call Brisbane home despite their desire to do so.”
He said Brisbane City Council and Queensland Government are in the process of identifying a solution for the future.
“Longer term we’ve got much bigger plans for Brisbane and Queensland, we just have to find a solution to the terminal issue,” he added.