Fears that the arrival of three cruise ships would paralyse Sydney today in the same way as last year’s arrival of Queen Mary 2 and the QE2 proved unfounded.
Hold-ups on the Eastern Distributor were more routine as the Diamond Princess, the Sun Princess and renovated superliner the Pacific Jewel all sailed through the heads under grey skies before 7am in a sure sign the cruising season is in full swing.
The vessels are among 118 passenger cruise ships expected in Sydney’s harbour this cruise season.
An Access Economics report, commissioned by Carnival Australia and released this week, found the cruise industry contributed $1.2 billion to the national economy in 2007/2008.
Carnival Australia chief executive Ann Sherry said that figure could double in a decade if governments improved port facilities.
The ships employ a combined crew of 2500 and can accommodate more than 6500 passengers in total.
A fire tug water display, courtesy of Sydney Ports, today accompanied the Pacific Jewel, which is fresh from renovations in Singapore.
Carnival Australia spokesman Anthony Fisk said the spruced-up, renamed superliner would spend four days in Sydney before making its maiden voyage on Sunday.
The Governor-General, Quentin Bryce, will officially name the Pacific Jewel at a ceremony at the Overseas Passenger Terminal on Saturday night.
Sydneysiders are invited to attend the evening of festivities at Circular Quay. Australian Idol winners Wes Carr and Stan Walker will perform.