NEWS - World cruise ship honours for Sydney

NEWS - World cruise ship honours for Sydney

Sydney has been confirmed as one of the world’s leading cruise ship destinations with its port facilities receiving a prestigious international cruise industry award.

NSW Minister for Tourism, Jodi McKay said Sydney was voted the world’s ‘Best Turnaround Port Operations’ for 2008 by Dream World Cruise Destinations magazine which caps off another record cruise ship season.

“This leading industry award is awarded to ports seen as the most reliable and efficient for cruise ship passenger exchanges,” said McKay.

"The jury awarded points for passenger terminal and cruise ship berth quality, public amenities and services. Important aspects covered included security, baggage services, supplies, general logistics and communications, ship provisioning as well as customs procedures,” she said.

McKay said it was the second time in four years Sydney has won the global award which surveys the world’s top cruise lines as well as cruise ship captains and passengers.

“The cruise industry is extremely valuable to Sydney and NSW, and this financial year has seen another increase in ship visits, with 120 cruise ships and over 250,000 passengers visiting Sydney which is up from the 101 visits last year,” said McKay.

“This resulted in a direct visitor spend of more than $75 million,” she sadded.

The Minister said maiden visits from the Arcadia, Millennium, Tahitian Princess and Royal Princess contributed to this season’s success.

“The cruise industry is seen globally as one of the fastest growing segments of the tourism market. For example, in February, Sydney Harbour was host to a record 28 ships in 28 days, including the Queen Mary 2, Queen Victoria, The Diamond Princess and Rhapsody of the Seas.”

NSW Acting Ports Minister, Michael Daley said the record cruise ship season meant an increase in activity for Sydney Ports Corporation which provides cruise vessels with ‘round the clock’ services such as security, traffic management and supervision of the gangways, ensuring the safety of embarking and disembarking passengers.

“This award issued at the recent Seatrade Miami Cruise Convention is testament to the hard work and dedication of Sydney Ports, which includes Harbour Control personnel and pilot boat crews,” said Daley.

McKay said the 2009/10 cruise season is looking just as promising with a number of new vessels set to make their inaugural visits.

“The continued growth in cruise visits to Sydney shows that international tourists perceive Sydney as an exciting and secure destination,” said McKay.

“Sydney is also becoming increasingly popular for year-round base port vessels and this year Carnival Australia will add the Pacific Jewel to its fleet of home port cruise ships,” she said.

The Minister said Sydney’s commitment to the cruise industry is reflected by it being the only port in Australia to have two dedicated cruise terminals.