The McGowan government is ready to welcome the return of large cruise ships to Western Australia, after confirmation that the Coral Princess will visit Fremantle as part of an Australian circumnavigation in October.
The luxury liner will be the first major cruise ship to visit WA in two and a half years.
The arrival of the Coral Princess in Fremantle on October 28 will mark a bumper few months of cruising for WA, with over 10,000 passengers expected to visit WA between October and December.
From October 1, cruise ships with a capacity of more than 350 guests and crew will be allowed to return to WA.
This will allow the return of the Coral Princess, closely followed by five other luxury cruise liners before Christmas.
Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth, carrying 2,900 passengers and crew, will arrive in Fremantle on November 2 for a tour of Australia before returning to Fremantle on December 2.
The Oceania Cruises regatta, with 1,000 passengers and crew on board, will visit Broome, Fremantle and Busselton between November 28 and December 3.
Holland America Line’s Noordam, with a capacity of 2,800 passengers and crew, will leave Fremantle on Saturday December 2.
Silversea Cruises’ Silver Muse, with 1,100 passengers and crew, will visit Fremantle, Busselton and Albany from December 10-12.
Azamara Cruises’ Azamara Quest, with a capacity of 1,100 passengers and crew, will arrive in Fremantle on December 20.
During the next cruising season, the ships will also visit other regional sites, including Broome, Geraldton, Exmouth and Esperance.
Western Australian tour operators have already witnessed a busy cruise season in Kimberley since small vessels carrying up to 350 passengers and crew were allowed to return from April 17.
Some of the Kimberley vessels have included Coral Expeditions’ Coral Geographer and Coral Adventurer, with the 32-guest three-master Le Ponant set to make her Kimberley debut for a six-month season.
Prior to COVID-19, WA hosted 106 cruise ship visits in fiscal year 2019-2020 which generated $261.9 million for the WA economy and employed approximately 935 people in industrial roles .
October will also be a landmark month for WA cruises, with Perth set to host the sixth WA Cruise Exchange from October 5-8, 2022.
Around 22 Australian cruise industry representatives will meet with various tourism stakeholders, including Western Australian suppliers and destination representatives, and the event will be enhanced with familiarization visits to the South West and Kimberley region .
As Tourism Minister Roger Cook said:
“We have already seen the safe return of expedition cruise operations to WA, with the Kimberley cruise season proving successful and boosting the local tourism industry.
“Cruising is critical to the WA tourism sector and prior to the pandemic this industry injected hundreds of millions of dollars into the state’s economy.
“I am grateful to cruise operators for their resilience throughout COVID-19 and look forward to welcoming major cruise ships to WA in the months ahead.
“Over 10,000 passengers coming to WA ahead of Christmas is another sign that our tourism strategy is gaining momentum to create more jobs and economic activity for WA.”
As Ports Minister Rita Saffioti said:
“Before COVID-19, the cruise industry was an important driver for our economy and our tourism sector, both in Fremantle and in regional communities like Albany, Esperance and Broome.
“COVID-19 has presented significant challenges for the cruise industry, but I know that all of our Port Authorities have been working hard to prepare for the return of cruise ships later this year.
“We have undertaken significant improvements in preparation for the return of cruise ships, including the replacement of escalators and elevators at the Fremantle passenger terminal.”