New RCL head eyes capacity challenge
THE newly appointed Royal Caribbean Cruises vice president and managing director for Australia and New Zealand, Susan Bonner, maintains port development will be the biggest challenge facing the brand over the next 12 months.
Bonner formally assumed the role from Adam Armstrong late last month ( CW 28 Jun) and is now responsible for spearheading the Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises brands in the local market.
“We are very well aware of the capacity constraints in Sydney and continue to bring these to the attention of all stakeholders, particularly the NSW and Federal Governments,” Bonner said.
“The cruise industry needs a new terminal east of the Sydney Harbour Bridge as soon as possible…our support for Port Botany as an option is pragmatic, we believe a solution there is possible but we are providing input into the government’s consideration of both options,” she added.
Outside of Sydney, Bonner says other ports in the APAC region will need to adopt a proactive approach to the cruising sector.
“We work closely with communities around Australia and New Zealand to ‘futureproof’ ports,” Bonner said.
“Port and infrastructure development is going to be vital to meeting demand and allowing communities to benefit from cruising’s economic injections.”
Despite any external growth constraints, Bonner is confident the next 12 months at RCL will be fruitful in Australia.
“Solstice will return for its seventh Australian cruise season, offering four brand new South Pacific destinations in Tonga, Samoa and American Samoa... and Royal Caribbean is gearing up for the billion-dollar Ovation of the Seas’ ( pictured) longest ever season down under,” Bonner said.