Syd policy questioned
CRUISE lines have given mixed reviews to the new booking policy the Port Authority of NSW is considering for Sydney’s cruise berths ( CW Thu).
Adam Armstrong, md RCL Cruises Australia & NZ called for a policy that gives preference for slots at the OPT be given to the ships that are too large to sail under the bridge and which bring the most passengers to Sydney.
Armstrong highlighted that the IPART report released in Nov, which he said “did not recommend a bidding process for slots at the OPT in its final report because it said the industry was not supportive of such a system”.
“Though there may be a place for bidding for slots vacated by incumbent bookings,” he added.
On the other end of the scale, Norwegian Cruise Line Holding’s svp and md Asia Pacific, Steve Odell told CW that as a recent entrant to the Sydney homeport market, “we are currently at a disadvantage when it comes to allocation of berths”.
“Berthing slots are often held without company deployments being agreed or announced and then slots are subsequently cancelled and opened up,” explained Odell.
“This is why an open booking period for the OPT with the correct booking procedures and cancellation penalties is important to us, similar to how other ports worldwide are managed”.
He noted it was difficult to comment on the proposal until all the details were made public, but emphasised the need to resolve the lack of berthing space in Sydney Harbour east of the bridge.
Carnival Australia & Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia chose not to comment until details are revealed.