In a major boost for the tourism industry, the world’s largest cruise line – Carnival Cruise Lines – has announced that it will base one of its cruise ships fulltime in Australia.
The 88,500 tonne Carnival Spirit will be the largest cruise ship ever to sail year round from Australia when she arrives in Sydney in October 2012 to operate a schedule of 8-12 day voyages to the Pacific Islands.
The move – announced globally in Sydney today – represents the first time Carnival Cruise Lines has ever ventured into Australian waters and reflects growing confidence in cruising in the region.
Carrying 2,667 passengers, Carnival Spirit will be the first ship to be based in Sydney year round that is too tall to sail under the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Rising nearly 53 metres above the waterline, Carnival Spirit is more than three metres taller than the specified clearance height for ships passing under the Bridge.
Because of its height, Carnival Spirit will be based at the only cruise facility east of the Harbour Bridge, Circular Quay’s Overseas Passenger Terminal.
Founded in 1972 and based in Miami, Carnival Cruise Lines is the best known cruise brand in North America and is expected to carry more than four million passengers this year – the most in the global cruise industry.
As the largest cruise ship sailing from Australia year round, Carnival Spirit offers a wide range of onboard facilities and features, with approximately two-thirds of its cabins featuring private balconies – the most of any Australian-based ship.
Ann Sherry, chief executive of Carnival Australia, which represents Carnival Cruise Lines’ Australian deployment locally, said the cruise line’s move into Australia was testament to both the recent growth and the ongoing potential of the local cruise industry.
“Cruising is booming in this country because it offers passengers a great value holiday that includes accommodation, top quality food and loads of entertainment that appeal to all age groups,” Ms Sherry said.
Gerry Cahill, Carnival Cruise Lines’ President and CEO, said the cruise line was looking forward to introducing its unique style of cruising to the Australian market.
“Carnival has become the most popular cruise choice among North Americans by offering an experience that is casual, friendly and fun with a wide variety of activities for guests of all ages, including a huge array of options on our expansive outdoor decks,” Mr Cahill concluded.