(9:35 a.m. AEST) -- Passengers will be able to board a cruise ship in Townsville next year when P&O trials the city as a new turnaround port. According to a report in the Townsville Bulletin, Pacific Eden will allow people to embark midway through a cruise departing from Cairns on September 6, 2018. While most passengers will board in Cairns, around 400 passengers are expected to board in Townsville. The cruise then continues south for three nights before ending in Sydney. Also, on Pacific Eden's Papua New Guinea cruise from Cairns on August 27, 2018 passengers will be able to disembark in Townsville on September 7.
A company spokesperson told the newspaper that the trial did not necessarily mean Townsville would become a turnaround port but the locals' "cruising appetite" would be assessed as a guide to future potential.
Adam Armstrong, Managing Director, Royal Caribbean Australia and New Zealand, said: "We’re incredibly proud to announce the maiden call to Newcastle for the country’s second largest cruise ship, Explorer of the Seas, on 10 February 2019, and returning again on 16 February 2019. We’re delighted to be working closely with the Port of Newcastle as it enters a new era of mega cruise ship travel."
--By Louise Goldsbury, Australia Editor