More Cruise Access in Sydney

Posted July 18th, 2012

Celebrity Millennium and Radiance of the Seas have been approved to dock at Sydney's naval base at Garden Island this season.

Australia's cruise industry is buzzing with the Prime Minister's announcement on Sunday that the Royal Australian Navy base at Garden Island will open to three cruise ships in the 2012/13 and 2013/14 cruise season.

Along with Cunard's Queen Mary 2, which has used the island on an ad hoc basis since 2007, two new superliners have also been granted access. Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Millennium and Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas will have Garden Island made available to them on the two occasions when these ships would have otherwise needed to spend the second of their two days in Sydney at anchor at Athol Buoy.

Royal Caribbean International, which operates both vessels, said: "The two ships, Celebrity Millennium and Radiance of the Seas, will turn around at Circular Quay before moving to Garden Island because other ships have bookings at the OPT (Overseas Passenger Terminal)."

The company emphasised the need to keep working with the state and federal governments on the longer-term needs of the cruise industry in the greater Sydney region. "While the opportunity to use Garden Island on a guaranteed basis will provide more certainty for our itinerary planning in the short term, the Prime Minister's announcement only underscores the need for a permanent solution in the form of a new berth for larger ships in Sydney," a spokesperson said.

"Such a permanent berthing solution for Sydney, either in the Harbour or within Botany Bay, will ensure that larger, more modern ships like Voyager of the Seas and Celebrity Solstice, both of which carry over 3,000 passengers, will continue to cruise from Sydney, the home of Australian cruising."

Carnival Australia also welcomed the news after years of lobbying for a "three-berth solution" for Sydney. Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia, said the immediate arrangement was "sufficient" for the industry's current operational needs. "It is a positive step that will help ensure Sydney continues to fulfil its role as an attractive international cruise destination," Sherry said.

"The alternative, where cruise ships would be forced to moor mid-harbour before ferrying passengers to shore in tender boats, would not only give international visitors a poor introduction to Sydney but also act as a brake on cruise industry growth." A spokesperson for Carnival Australia also said that new arrangements for Garden Island would include Customs' facilities for passenger operations.

Source: Cruise Weekly, Tuesday 17 July 2012

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