Cunard and Princess will be the first major lines to dock at Fremantle when Western Australia cruises resume in October.

Expedition vessels and small ships with capacities of less than 350 have already been sailing Western Australia’s rugged coast, but from 1 October larger vessels will once again be permitted to dock at the state’s ports.

The 2,000-passenger Coral Princess is scheduled to arrive in Fremantle on October 28, followed by the 2,100-passenger Queen Elizabeth on 7 November.

“Cruising is critical to the WA tourism sector,” says the Minister of Tourism, Roger Cook. “Before the pandemic this industry injected hundreds of millions of dollars into the State’s economy.”

In the 2019-2020 financial year, before the pandemic took full effect, cruise ships generated $261.9 million for the state’s economy and provided jobs for more than 900 people.

“Prior to COVID-19, the cruising industry was a significant driver for our economy and tourism sector, both in Fremantle and in regional communities like Albany, Esperance and Broome,” says Ports Minister Rita Saffioti.

“I’m grateful to cruise operators for their resilience throughout COVID-19 and am looking forward to welcoming back large cruise ships to WA in the coming months.”

There are an estimated 10,000 people sailing on Western Australia cruises before Christmas.

Along with Cunard and Princess, Oceania, Holland America and Azamara are all scheduled to sail to Western Australia in the upcoming season.

In preparation for its return, the ports minister notes upgrades have been made to Fremantle Passenger Terminal, including new escalators and lifts.