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CLIA Australasia chair and NCL MD Ben Angell (Image: Adam Coulter)

Australia Set for Bumper 2023/2024 Cruise Season

CLIA Australasia chair and NCL MD Ben Angell (Image: Adam Coulter)
U.K. Executive Editor
Adam Coulter

Sep 11, 2023

Read time
2 min read

(2 p.m. AEST) -- Australia is set for one of its biggest cruise seasons with more than 70 ships visiting over the next six months.

Speaking at the annual gathering of cruise industry professionals, Cruise360, in Brisbane last week, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Managing Director Australasia Joel Katz said this season is likely to outstrip pre-pandemic levels.

The conference took place just days after the Australian Government removed all remaining cruise-specific COVID-19 restrictions, giving the industry a welcome boost just ahead of the start of the official cruise season.

“Australia will welcome around 70 cruise ships over the 2023-34 season, which is well above the 60 or so scheduled to visit in 2019-20,” Katz said.

“Together these ships will spend a total of 1848 port days in Australia – 18% more than in 2019-20 – resulting in billions of dollars in passenger spending in communities around the Australian coast.”

Among newcomers to the Australian cruise scene this year will be Virgin Voyages, which has just announced a further 15 brand new itineraries in Australia in 2024; Disney Cruise Line and Scenic, which will each deploy ships in this region for the first time.

“This year will offer more variety and choice than ever before, making 2023-24 one of the most exciting cruise seasons in recent memory,” Mr Katz said. “Australia has become one of the most vibrant cruise regions in the world, and this means more options than ever for cruise fans.”

CLIA Chair in Australasia and NCL managing director for the region, Ben Angell, said the approaching summer schedule reflected strong demand for cruising in Australian waters.

“The sheer number of ships and increasingly diverse range of itineraries on offer across our region highlight the strength, resilience and underlying demand of our local cruise industry, both as a source market and a destination,” Mr Angell said. “Cruise is back, and back bigger and better than ever.”

This Year's Cruise360 Australasia Was the Largest Ever

Pre-Conference CLIA360 Drinks (Image: Adam Coulter)

Cruise360 is Australasia's biggest annual cruise event, and this year hosted 650 industry delegates from across Australia and New Zealand in Brisbane – the first time the event has been held in Queensland.

Cruise360 Australasia began with a welcome event at Howard Smith Wharves (pictured above), hosted by Tourism & Events Queensland, the Brisbane Economic Development Agency, and the Port of Brisbane.

"Being here together today in Brisbane represents more than just a change of scenery for Cruise360," Katz said. "This is the first time our CLIA community has come together in Queensland and with around 650 of us in the room today – the biggest ever – we can safely say we've embraced Brisbane just as heartily as Brisbane has embraced cruising."

Brisbane opened a brand new $177m cruise terminal just last year, which had been delayed by the pandemic. Carnival has taken out a 25-year lease on the terminal.

More than 20 speakers – including Cruise Critic – took part, offering international insight and inspiration to an audience of travel agents, cruise line executives and industry supporters from across Australia and New Zealand.

The Cruise360 conference took place at the Royal International Convention Centre, and also featured a Trade Show with almost 50 exhibitors including CLIA cruise lines, cruise destinations, and CLIA Executive Partners.

Updated September 11, 2023
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