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cruisenews from down under
Sydney wrangles over new cruise terminal Sydney, Australia’s most popular cruise port, is shaping up for its busiest cruise season ever, with a large number of liners already passing through. The current terminal at Circular Quay, however, is 50 years old and described by a prominent Sydney cruise agent as “a nightmare” with, among other practical problems, no coach access.
PHOTOs: cunard/holland america line/celebrity cruises
New ships head down under Holland America Line and Royal Caribbean both chose Cunard’s cruise festivities in February to announce their plans to grow cruising in Australia. Royal Caribbean will be operating Celebrity Solstice around Australia in 2012/13, and Holland America Line will be replacing ms Zaandam with ms Oosterdam, thus boosting capacity by almost 25 per cent. “In preparation for the increase, the line is opening a dedicated sales, marketing and reservations office in Sydney,” the cruise line revealed.
Cruise International June/July 2011
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Plans for a much-needed second cruise terminal are now under way, but the details are highly controversial, with cruise lines and government backers split over the location of the new facility. The government has announced the redevelopment of a former commercial wharf at White Bay (Balmain), but cruise companies are opposed
to the plan, as it will place the terminal on the wrong side of the harbour. Passengers will have to traverse an alreadycongested road system to get to the city. Moreover, the biggest ships, which cannot fit under Sydney’s famous Harbour Bridge, will be unable to even reach the facility. The Darling Harbour Wharf 8 site (aka Barangaroo, pictured), currently in use as a temporary terminal, is a more popular option, with better parking and road access – although it too is inside the Harbour Bridge. And developers want to convert the site to hotel and residential use after 2012. The obvious choice, Carnival Australia’s CEO Ann Sherry has said, would be to locate the new terminal at the naval site on Garden Island, as used by QM2. This has good road access into Sydney, and avoids tangling with the bridge. At time of writing the White Bay project is going ahead – but watch this space.
Cunard Queens light up Sydney Harbour The gala event of the Australian cruise season was without doubt the meeting of the two Cunard Queens, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary 2, on 22 February. The QM2, Cunard’s flagship, carrying more than 3,000 passengers, is the largest passenger vessel ever to visit Sydney (foreground, below). The smaller QE, meanwhile, is Cunard’s newest ship, launched in October last year (background, below). This was the QE’s maiden visit to Sydney, and the city came to a virtual standstill to celebrate the event. As is now customary, the harbour was crammed with smaller vessels enjoying the historic moment. One touching ceremony performed as part of the royal duties was a commemorative dinner for servicemen who had sailed aboard Cunard’s former Queens when they were in use as troopships during WWII. The Queens carried more than two million servicemen between 1939 and 1945, and were credited by Winston Churchill as having helped to shorten the war significantly.
Words rod Eime
news in Brief
christchurch closed Earthquake-ravaged Lyttelton, the port of Christchurch in New Zealand, remains closed until the end of the season. Holland America’s Volendam, P&O’s Aurora and Pacific Pearl, Princess Cruise’s Dawn Princess, Royal Caribbean’s Rhapsody of the Seas, and Saga Ruby are all re-routed to alternative ports. brisbane back open The Port of Brisbane is back to full operation after a period of closure during the New Year floods in Queensland. townsville news The Great Barrier Reef port of Townsville is in the final stages of appointing contractors for its multi-million dollar upgrade to cruise facilities. Work is expected to begin in October 2011. Meanwhile, the clean up from recent Cyclone Yasi is complete, and all tours and activities have resumed. expedition cruising Australia’s luxury expedition cruise line, Orion Expedition Cruises, is gaining a second ship, the ice-strengthened Clelia II, to be renamed Orion II. The delivery of the ship, however, has been delayed due to extra technical work required. Itineraries up to 21 August have been rescheduled. engine issues P&O Australia’s Pacific Sun was forced to cut short one of its voyages in February due to a recurrence of engine problems; a subsequent cruise was also interrupted in March. In response, the cruise line has altered forthcoming itineraries and offered appropriate refunds and compensation.
Published on Jun 30, 2011