Newcastle’s bid to woo the cruise industry has been dealt a blow with luxury line Oceania cancelling a port visit this weekend.
The cruise ship Insignia has officially cancelled its visit to the NSW port over a planned environmental protest.
The protest, Break Free, is supported by Greenpeace and climate action group 350.org.
The protest aims to disrupt coal exports from Newcastle on Saturday and Sunday.
An Occeania spokesperson told Cruise Passenger: “At Oceania Cruises we are dedicated to delivering an exceptional experience for our guests, both on ship and ashore. On occasion we may alter a ship’s itinerary to avoid potential disruptions that may have a negative impact on the guest experience.
The Port of Newcastle said the decision to cancel the visit was disappointing for the volunteers, tour operators and local businesses that “carefully plan and prepare for visits” from cruise ships.
The ABC reported around half the ship’s passengers had booked shore excursions.
Hunter Valley tourism officials estimate the region will take a $250,000 hit as a result of the cancelled visit.
Tourism Hunter’s chairman Will Creedon said it was a devastating blow for the region’s economy.
“There was anticipation of those journeys — the food, the providores, the wine, and other merchants, it’s significant. As a minimum, $250,000 across the region.”
Break Free spokeswoman Charlie Wood said the cruise liner’s fears were unwarranted.