Sun rises on Western Australian cruise industry


P&O Cruises has celebrated the start of Pacific Sun’s maiden Western Australian cruise season today with news that the ship will return in 2011 for a second cruise season.

Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia, which operates P&O Cruises, made the announcement of a second season onboard Pacific Sun in Fremantle this morning as the ship prepares to sail her inaugural summer season of seven cruises.

The 1900-passenger ship will contribute up to $7 million through passenger and crew spending and port fees to the WA economy over the season.

Ms Sherry said Pacific Sun would return between July and October 2011 to sail nine cruises from Fremantle ranging in length from three to 16 nights.

She said regional WA would also benefit from the cruise expansion, with Pacific Sun making 18 calls to WA ports including Geraldton, Exmouth and Broome compared with 12 scheduled for 2009-10.

News of the deployment follows the release of an Access Economics report last week which revealed cruising contributed more than $21 million to the WA economy in 2007-08, an increase of 130 per cent on the previous year’s $9 million.

“Pacific Sun’s deployment in 2009-10 as well as her new 2011 season reflects the incredible growth of the local cruise industry,” Ms Sherry said.

“The latest figures reveal that growth is set to continue, with passenger numbers from WA expected to more than quadruple by 2020, increasing from 40,000 in 2010 to 162,000 in 2020.”

The new 2011 program will include a three-night food and wine-themed cruise and a comedy-themed cruise, as well as two 16-night voyages to Indonesia via Christmas Island, two 12-night cruises to Indonesia and an eight-night coastal sailing to Broome, Exmouth and Geraldton.

Arriving at Fremantle at 8am today, Pacific Sun will set sail at 10pm tonight on her three-night sampler cruise. She will then offer three cruises to Indonesia, another three-night sampler cruise and an eight-night coastal sailing.

The 47,000-tonne ship features a child-free Oasis spa retreat, an oceanview gym and coffee bar, as well as five restaurants and cafes, multiple bars and lounges and two pools.
Ms Sherry said Carnival Australia cruise lines would make a record 47 calls to ports in WA this summer cruise season, including the maiden visits of Cunard Line’s magnificent Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria.

“Passengers love the diversity of Western Australian ports as well as cruising along its spectacular coastline and that’s reflected in the growing number of itineraries offering WA calls.”