The 2016/17 wave season has been one of the biggest in Australia’s cruise ship history, with the arrival of Australia’s largest ship, Ovation of the Seas, the newest luxury ship, the Seabourn Encore as well as the refurbished Pacific Dawn.

It all means we can expect another record set of cruise passenger figures – easily surpassing a million and possibly suggesting we could break the two million mark before 2020.

The Azamara Journey made her maiden call in Sydney as well as Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria visiting Australia for the first time in 10 years.

Carnival Cruise Line’s Vice President of Australia Jennifer Vandekreeke said the company saw more bookings this wave season than previous years and passengers are now looking towards 2018.

“Our bookings for 2018 are up considerably compared to the same time last year. The school holidays always sell well and there is a lot of interest in our four repositioning cruises to and from Hawaii on Carnival Legend to and from Singapore on Carnival Spirit,” she said.

Tony Archbold, the Director of Sales in Australia and New Zealand for Holland America Line said there has been an increase in passenger numbers.

“The 2016/17 season has been exceptionally strong. We increased our capacity in the Australian waters with the arrival and longer season of the ms Maasdam. For 2017 we are maintaining the presence of the Maasdam in our local waters but are introducing 2 new itineraries,” he said.

Royal Caribbean and its brands, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises had a big season with the arrival of new ships. Adam Armstrong, the managing director of Australia and New Zealand for the brand said it was the biggest season yet.

“The 2016/17 summer cruise season has been a bumper year: In fact it was our biggest season yet. We increased capacity by over 15 per cent across our three brands – Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises.

“We had a record breaking seven ships based in Australia, including two new ships: the all-new Ovation of the Seas and the recently revitalised Azamara Journey. What’s more, Royal Caribbean International is now the single largest cruise line in Australia in terms of capacity.”

But while most cruise lines have contributed the success of this year’s wave season on better ships and a bigger interest in cruising, all lines have concede the lack of infrastructure around Australia has limited their growth ability.

“Sydney needs a new, dedicated, fit-for-purpose cruise terminal.  The lack of a new large-ship terminal will significantly impede any future growth in the Australian cruise industry.  At Royal Caribbean we have already been impacted when Ovation of the Seas could not remain in Sydney for a longer season due to the lack of space at the OPT.
“We urgently need a solution. We are very keen to bring more ships to Australia but we simply cannot access the capacity today that we want with the right size of ship and number of calls in Sydney.”