P&O Cruises has acknowledged the potential of Cairns to become Australia’s northern cruising hub with the announcement that one of its new cruise ships will homeport in the city for two months.
Tourism Tropical North Queensland Chief Executive Officer Alex de Waal welcomed the news of the first cruise ship to homeport in Cairns saying the 1500-passenger Pacific Eden would bring a $4 million boost to the region in September 2016.
“Tourism Tropical North Queensland has been working with Ports North and Tourism and Events Queensland to raise the profile of Cairns as the link between east coast Australian cruising and the exotic ports of Southeast Asia and Papua New Guinea.
“P&O Cruises CEO Ann Sherry has acknowledged that positioning by saying Cairns was perfectly placed as the starting point for cruises to exotic destinations such as the islands of Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
“Our Director of Sales and Marketing Brian Hennessy has joined the Cruise Down Under contingent of representatives from major Australian ports and the tourism industry at Cruise Shipping Miami each year for the past three years,” he said.
“Attending this key trade event for cruising was made possible with funding by Cairns Regional Council and ensures Cairns & Great Barrier Reef is top-of-mind for all prospective itinerary planners.
“Cairns successfully hosted the Cruise Down Under Conference last year which drew further attention to the destination’s capabilities as a homeport.
“Our strategy to position Cairns as a homeport destination is reaping rewards with increased interest by cruise companies to include Cairns in their itineraries.
“The five-star boutique cruise ship Paul Gauguin chose Cairns as a turnaround port in its 2014 cruise itinerary arriving in June from Fiji and will be returning in August from Singapore.
“Earlier this year Azamara Club Cruises announced Cairns would be part of its January 2016 schedule while last year Royal Caribbean announced Cairns would be included as a destination in its 2014-15 season.
“We will continue to work with our industry partners to show the world’s cruise ship deployment directors that Cairns & Great Barrier Reef is open for business and welcomes increased port visits.”