The two cities always seem to be going head-to-head. Which has the best shops? Which makes the best coffee? Now, which can woo the most cruise ships.

Statistics say it is Sydney. For now…

During the 2012/13-wave season Sydney welcomed 240 ship calls, this year that number grew by 259. This is well ahead of Melbourne’s 55 visits during the 2012/13-summer period and 70 this year.

Port of Melbourne spokesperson Peter Harry told Cruise Passenger that Sydney is ahead because it is often the home port for ships deployed to the southern hemisphere during summer.

Sydney is also at times the only stop during world voyages.

“Melbourne is comparable with most capital cities as most cruise ships that deploy to the Australia/Pacific region each summer visit most Australian capital cities,” he explained.

“Cruise lines have not raised infrastructure as an issue in Melbourne, but rather its distance from the Pacific Islands and the attraction of Sydney as a marquee port,” he said.

However, Melbourne’s ship arrivals are growing. According to Mr Harry the port has an annual growth rate of five ships every year.

In fact, this summer season has been one of the port’s busiest. This week, Melbourne welcomed two of the biggest cruise liners, Queen Mary 2 and Celebrity Solstice.

Luxury cruise liners, Seabourn Odyssey and Seabourn Sojourn made five visits throughout the period and Rhapsody of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas will make eight calls in total before the end of April.

Melbourne’s season is scheduled to wrap up when the Pacific Pearl sails out on April 29. It will restart on October 7 with the arrival of Dawn Princess.

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