Melbourne’s ageing cruise terminal at Station Pier has never been busier. There was traffic chaos with the arrival of Golden Princess, the 2600-passenger cruise ship which was welcomed with much razzamatazz, including a golden banner suspended from two helicopters.
On board was Princess Cruises’ vice-president for Australasia, Stuart Allison, who says Victoria is one of the fastest growing cruise markets, with latest figures showing a 24 per cent annual increase, representing 175,000 Victorians taking a cruise in twelve months.
Golden Princess will be home-ported in Melbourne for the next six months for cruises to New Zealand, Tasmania, South Australia, and the South Pacific. She replaces the smaller Pacific Dawn in a move to meet the increased demand for cruise capacity by Victorians, princess.com
Just days after Golden Princess’ arrival, Station Pier welcomed P&O Cruises Pacific Pearl, Pacific Jewel, and Carnival Cruises’ Carnival Spirit, on brief visits for the legendary Melbourne Cap racing celebrations, pocruises.com.au; carnival.com.au
Also in town was P&O Cruises’ Pacific Dawn which berthed at Victoria Dock, giving the 2000 guests on board unprecedented access to the heart of Melbourne during their two-day stay.
Pacific Dawn at 47.6 metres high, made history as the largest cruise ship, to sail under the city’s West Gate Bridge which has a clearance of 50.1 metres.
Between them the visiting ships carried 8000 guests, who made up about 8 per cent of the total attendees at Flemington Racecourse for the Melbourne Cup Day races.
australiancruisingnews.com notes that Melbourne’s Station Pier will see the maiden call of Explorer of the Seas later this month. Explorer, the largest cruise ship ever to be based in Australian waters, carries over 3100 passengers, and will be home ported in Sydney which is having its busiest cruise season ever, royalcaribbean.com.au