Cruising in local waters also aren't cover by Medicare
Cruising in local waters also aren't cover by Medicare Image by Nick Rains.

In one historic weekend, more than $2 million was added to the New South Wales economy from nearly 2000 high-end visitors over four separate cruise ships, which spent the weekend berthed in Sydney Harbour – the first time ever such an event has taken place. Together, Azamara Quest (Azamara Club Cruises) Le Soleal (Ponant), Silver Whisper (Silversea Cruises) and Seabourn Odyssey (Seabourn) delivered the record boon to Sydney.

The occasion saw history made at the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay as two ships – Azamara Quest and Le Soleal – tied up together at the facility – a feat possible only by the size of the ships, careful measuring and maneuvering and recent renovations at the terminal which saw the installation of a new mooring dolphin. Silver Whisper and Seabourn Odyssey were nearby at the White Bay Cruise Terminal just under the Harbour Bridge.

All four ships were at different stages of their respective voyages at the time of their shared visits in Sydney. Azamara Quest was completing a 16-night sailing from Auckland and is now northbound back to Cairns. Le Soleal arrived from a five-day cruise also from Auckland while Silver Whisper and Seabourn Odyssey were both midway through global circumnavigations.

Seabourn Odyssey and Silver Whisper make up the numbers at White Bay.
Sitting at White Bay were Seabourn Odyssey (left) and Silver Whisper (right).

Cruise Lines International Association commercial director Brett Jardine said the financial windfall for New South Wales that came from the four visits materialised in many forms.

“Many of these passengers will have enjoyed pre and post-cruise days in Sydney which means for Sydney’s local economy, fantastic news for hotel stays, passengers taking tours in and around Sydney, spending money on shopping and potentially dining as well. So it’s not only great news for the cruise industry having these four ships here, but great news for local tourism and great news for the City of Sydney.”

Jardine added the success of the day was due to a number of different parties working together for the benefit of cruising.

“I’d like to acknowledge the work of the NSW Port Authority for making this happen today. Having two ships back-to-back at this terminal is history in the making. It’s quite extraordinary that we have been able to do this and it can only happen when you’ve got the collaborative efforts of not only the cruise lines and the Port Authority but also Customs so congratulations to all concerned. It’s a fantastic event.”

Sydney cruise heavyweights overlook two ships in Sydney Harbour
CLIA Commercial Director Brett Jardine and NSW Port Authority CEO Grant Gilfillan overlook two ships in Sydney Harbour.

February is usually the peak of the annual cruise season and is the time when many of the international ships sailing their round-the-world voyages call into Australian ports. This year, the month is the busiest ever for cruise visits in Sydney, with 27 different ships racking up 45 port calls to the NSW capital city. Next month will be only a little quieter, with 17 more ships making 33 calls to Sydney in 30 days.