Opportunities to see the NSW mid-south coast on a cruise is clearly proving popular, with Royal Caribbean scheduling two more calls to Port Kembla, near Wollongong, during the 2017/2018 cruise season, including one by Explorer of the Seas.
The 3,800-passenger ship has been booked to visit the port on 13 March 2018, delivering a massive financial windfall for the region’s attractions, shopping and tour operators. The visit will be the first stop on a seven-day voyage to Tasmania. Passengers will be able to spend the day touring the attractions of the Illawarra including local wineries and beaches.
Fleet-mate Radiance of the Seas has also been booked in for a second visit to the Wollongong dock on 14 December 2017. On this particular cruise, Kembla will also be the first stop as the ship heads to Tasmania and then on to Adelaide. Radiance will facilitate the company’s maiden visit during next cruise season, docking for the first time on 30 October this year, also during a round-trip sailing to the Apple Isle.
Royal Caribbean declined to comment specifically on whether the popularity of Port Kembla as a stop was the reason for the extra visits or whether further scoping of the facility was being carried out on larger ships to potentially become a second home-port near Sydney for future voyages, saying its deployment for 2017/18 was still being finalised.