Tasmanian authorities could reach their target of 300,000 passengers and crew visiting the Apple Isle this season given Pacific Adventure being turned away from New Zealand and being sent to Hobart.

There is potential for others to follow with Tasmania port arrivals as New Zealand authorities crack down on vessels without the proper biohazard paperwork.

The P&O liner, which has a capacity of 2636-3174 passengers, was turned away from its set itinerary of Auckland and Bay of Islands, after its hull was deemed to have not been cleaned properly and was potentially carrying bio hazards.

The diversion, while upsetting passengers including a couple set to marry in Hobbiton at The Lord of the Rings movie set, meant the passengers were forced to head to Hobart. 

The 2023-2024 season commenced in Tasmania when Pacific Adventure first arrived at the Port of Hobart, as scheduled, on September 20.

Huge Tasmania cruise season expected

Late last week, before the diversion from New Zealand waters, Tasmania’s Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Michael Ferguson, said the state was expecting a huge local cruise season.

TasPorts is expecting a bumper cruise ship season for 2023-2024 largely due to the introduction of two new major cruise brands to Australia and each have multiple calls booked at Tasmania,” he said.

“The 2023-2024 season will see the introduction of Virgin Voyages and Disney to the Australian market with Disney Wonder and Resilient Lady deployed to the region. The new lines are scheduled to deliver a total of 21 arrivals to Tasmania Ports during the 2023-2024 season.

“Based on the current booking schedule, a total of 159 cruise calls are forecast to visit Tasmania during the 2023-2024 season, carrying approximately 287,000 passengers and 124,000 crew.”

The 2023/24 Tassie port arrivals target was set after a successful 2022/23 cruise ship season, recording 126 cruise ship calls around the State. 

“These ships brought more than 170,000 passengers and 88,000 crew to Tasmania,” Mr Ferguson said.

Mr Ferguson said in line with TasPorts’ support of the Tasmanian Government’s targets to increase regional dispersal of visitation, about 50 per cent of cruise calls were to regional ports outside of Hobart.

International cruise ships are still required to meet all state and territory public health requirements of the jurisdiction into which they berth.

Port calls Tasmania-wide 126:

  • Hobart 65;
  • Burnie 28;
  • Port Arthur 18;
  • Port of Coles Bay/Scenic Cruising 6;
  • Bell Bay 5;
  • Devonport 3; and
  • Grassy, King Island 1.

    * Figures exclude Coral Discoverer.
Tassie port arrivals
Pacific Adventure is set to arrive in Hobart after being turned away from New Zealand.