Lauded as a historic day for Sydney Harbour and a new era in cruising, our most famous port saw a four-ship luxury weekend turned into a global media event today.
The Azamara Quest and Ponant’s Le Soleal were moored nose-to-tail in a double-parking feat that was hailed as a first for the Overseas Passenger Terminal.
Over at White Bay, Seabourn’s Odyssey was stern-to-stern with Silversea’s Silver Whisper in another luxury double.
The view brought TV stations, media helicopters and lots of journalists to sample the best of what cruise has to offer.
The idea was Ponant Asia Pacific chair Sarina Bratton’s. She said she looked at how Royal Caribbean was able to berth its huge ships and realised you could fit the 142 metre Ponant and the 180 metre Azamara in the same space.
She praised the port authorities for approving the trial and added: “Expect to see more of this!”
February is a big month for cruising – 27 ships will make 45 calls to Sydney, Cruise Lines International Association’s Brett Jardine said.
March will see 17 ships make 33 calls.
Today’s event saw 2,800 visitors to Sydney spending around $2 million.
Seabourn, Ponant and Silversea are all promising more journeys from Australia.
Seaborn Senior Vice President of Global Marketing and Sales John Delaney, on his first Sydney visit, said Sydney was a key attraction for his guests.
Australia is Seabourn’s third biggest market.
“Sydney is such an iconic and popular port with our guests and Australian have shown such a strong affinity with Seaborn that we purposely decided to bring out newest ship, the beautiful Seabourn Encore, down to Sydney next February for her maiden season.”
Ponant’s Kimberley voyages next years are selling well with just a few vacancies left.
Silversea will continue to visit Australian ports as it has done since 1994, said the line’s General Manager Australasia Karen Christensen.
Later, Le Soleal set off for a nine-night cruise to Cairns, the Azamara Quest left for a 17-night East Coast and Bali trip and the Odyssey left bound for Brisbane.
Vote in this year’s special Readers’ Choice Awards
No doubt 2020 will go down in cruise history as the year of the pandemic – a once in a generation event. And this year’s Cruise Passenger Readers’ Choice Awards will reflect it.