Full steam ahead for cruising
Cruise ships will berth in Broome for longer after the McGowan Government committed $7 million to dredge and make the port safer.
The world’s largest cruise line company P&O, which owns Carnival Australia, has praised the decision and committed to keeping Fremantle as a home port and deploying its 2000-guest ship Sun Princess there next year.
“Cruising is incredibly important to the WA economy,” Premier Mark McGowan said.
“Carnival had decided to pull out of home porting in Fremantle because some of the infrastructure issues in WA ports hadn’t been dealt with and there had been no action with the previous government.”
The major problem was berthing in Broome because of tidal issues and large rocks under water in the port that restricted the time ships could arrive and depart safely.
Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said the Government was also dealing with tensioning units at Geraldton port.
In May, Carnival announced its visits to WA were at risk because of the infrastructure issues.
The company’s Australian vicepresident, Stuart Allison, said fixing the problems guaranteed five cruises in and out of WA in October and November next year.
“They will add $8 million to the local economy,” he said.
Mr Allison said with the dredging work done, Broome would become a marquee port for the company, which put it on a par with the most-favoured destinations worldwide for passengers.
“Broome rates higher for our Princess Cruises guests than any other port in Australia, but the problem with tidal access means they don’t get the best experience,” he said.
“Long term, we hope to bring even larger ships to Australia.”
Geraldton MLA Ian Blayney welcomed the news the Sun Princess would continue to homeport in WA. He said the cruise industry played a vital role in bringing tourism and revenue for the local economy.
“The withdrawal of P&O ships from Western Australia, and Geraldton in particular, would have been disappointing not only for passengers but also for the economy,” Mr Blayney said.
He said the money the previous State Government invested in shore tension units earlier this year would help the Geraldton Port reach its full potential and enable more frequent cruise visits to Geraldton.
WA Premier Mark McGowan and Sun Princess captain Gennaro Arma.