The Port of Brisbane has said it will welcome the arrival of the world’s largest ships, after a Royal Caribbean executive indicated earlier this week that the arrival of Oasis-class ships to Australia is imminent.
RCCL’s Associate Vice President of Marine & Safety, Captain Nik Antalis, said “it’s only a matter of time”, as he urged the Australian cruise industry to develop some of the country’s major ports.
Oasis-class vessels, which include Symphony and Harmony of the Seas, have the capacity of up to 5,400 lower berths.
At the moment, most Australian ports can’t meet the demand of these mega ships. The biggest ship sailing Australia’s waters at present is Ovation of the Seas, which has a maximum passenger capacity of 4,905.
Brisbane is building a new cruise terminal, which will come on stream next year and has the capability of handling Oasis class. It already has 190 bookings.
Mr Antalis highlighted that the new Brisbane International Cruise Terminal is currently the only port that can handle giant cruise ships.
RCCL is not the only line that have these giants in their fleet – MSC, over the last two years have floated out ships like the MSC Meraviglia which has the capacity for up to 5,600 passengers. And Dream Cruises is also currently constructing their own mega ships – Global Class vessels, the line claims, will have the capacity for up to 9,000 passengers.
Mr Antalis, in his address to the Australian Cruise Association conference, also compared Australia’s deficiency of Oasis-class ports with Asia, saying that next year, the region has 40 destinations that will be able to handle the world’s largest ships.
But he also heeded some advice, pointing out ports like Hobart, Darwin and Fremantle require very little investment to get these destinations ready for megaships.
The downside though, is that Sydney and Auckland, two of the most popular destinations in Australia and New Zealand, remain problematic to handle giant ships.