Super February – the biggest-ever month for the Australian cruise ship industry – is expected to see more than 50,000 passengers disembark to soak up Sydney’s sights, sounds and retail attractions.
Over 28 days, an unprecedented 41 cruise ships from all corners of the globe will dock in Sydney – 11 of the ships on their maiden Australian voyage.
The City’s cruise ambassadors, who make sure as many passengers as possible are given a warm and friendly welcome, will be the first Sydneysider many of the international visitors meet. They will be armed with maps, advice and information on all the city has to offer – from world-class shops, restaurants and open green spaces to offerings at theatres, museums and galleries.
“We’ll have the cruise ambassadors working at the Overseas Passenger Terminal and at Barangaroo, and we’re also expecting the Information Kiosks, especially the one at Circular Quay, will be in great demand,” the City’s Manger Tourist Services Manager, Catherine Veronesi, said.
“The program is in its second year, having started on a trial basis in January last year, and has proven so popular that we’re now taking bookings from cruise operators who want personalised welcomes aboard their ships before passengers even disembark.”
The cruise ship industry season – which runs from September to April – contributes some $1.1 billion to the Australian economy.
The current season is expected to see more than 265,000 holidaymakers visit Sydney shores, drawn by the appeal of Sydney Harbour, coupled with the opportunity to escape the northern hemisphere’s winter.
The Lord Mayor Clover Moore said Super February had significant economic potential.
“We’re working with city businesses, from retail to entertainment, to ensure we make the most of that opportunity, and that these visitors have a uniquely Sydney experience,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Whether it be shopping or dining, our Chinese New Year celebrations, the Sydney Mardi Gras Festival, a play at the Belvoir, a performance at Sydney Opera House or a visit to one of our many galleries, we are ideally placed to make sure visitors see the best of the best and boost the city economy as well.”
Carnival Cruises Communications Manager David Jones said while the whole month of February is super, Carnival is billing 7 February as Super Thursday when Carnival will have three of its ships in dock in Sydney on the one day.
“Pacific Pearl is at Barangaroo, Pacific Jewel is at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, and the ultra-luxurious Seabourn Odyssey will berth at Glebe Island,” Mr Jones said.
“Holidaymakers are looking for shopping, particularly in The Rocks, but also further uptown in the major chains and department stores.
“It really is an avalanche of people being dropped right into the heart of Sydney,” Mr Jones said.
Sydney Ports Authority Senior Manager of Corporate Affairs Bob de la Lande said the majority of the international cruise ships come from Britain and the US.
“Operators know they can keep their ships working 12 months of the year if they target the Australian summer season while the northern hemisphere is in winter,” Mr de la Lande said.
A panel of industry experts has been established to ensure the city and the harbour are able to continue to accommodate record-breaking cruise seasons, give tourists the best possible Sydney experience, and maximise opportunities for tourist operators and city businesses.
The group includes representatives from Destination NSW, Sydney Ports Authority, Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority and the City of Sydney.
The City’s cruise ambassadors program emanated from panel discussions a year ago. Volunteers are trained by the City of Sydney, Destination NSW and the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority to provide advice and information to cruise passengers to help them explore and access the many natural and entertainment assets of Australia’s global city.
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