South Australia to welcome biggest cruise season yet

Over 100 cruises scheduled for state during the 2022/23 season

Princess Cruises' Coral Princes | Image courtesy of South Australian Tourism Commission

South Australia will welcome its biggest cruise season ever in 2022/23, with 20 more departures than prior to the pandemic.

The state is expecting 101 cruises in the upcoming season, up from 82 visits made in what was a bumper season in 2018/19 – when the sector contributed $145 million to the State’s visitor economy.

The first cruise ship scheduled for South Australia is Princess Cruises’ Coral Princess on 17 September. With up to 2,000 passengers and 895 crew, Coral Princess will visit Adelaide, Port Lincoln and Penneshaw on multiple itineraries through to mid-April 2023.

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Other cruise ships scheduled for SA between October 2022 and April 2023 include P&O’s Pacific Explorer, Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, and Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas.

In preparation for the resumption of cruising, the South Australian Tourism Commission (SATC) has been working with industry, SA Health and regional stakeholders – which included welcoming a program of expedition cruises to SA in 2021/22.

Between February 2021 and January 2022, a series of expedition cruises sailed around the state with domestic passengers, helping provide a blueprint for the broader return of cruising.

Cruise ships are returning to an upgraded passenger terminal at Outer Harbor, which includes new seating, an improved design and print and digital welcome signage displaying images of iconic South Australian experiences.

The 101 cruises scheduled for the state in 2022/23 include 20 expedition vessels – a sector of cruising built up in SA in 2021 and one that has flourished during the pandemic.

Flinders Island landing by Coral Expeditions in December 2021 | Source: Coral Expeditions/Facebook

Zoe Bettison, Minister for Tourism in South Australia said “the return of cruising signals a major step forward for the recovery of South Australia’s visitor economy.”

“It’s clear South Australia has remained a destination of choice for cruise lines, with more cruises set for our shores than we saw pre-COVID.”

This means more visitors to SA, more expenditure, and more jobs for locals – with on-shore tours spreading the benefits from the city to the Barossa, Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu and Eyre Peninsulas, Kangaroo Island, and beyond.

“It is thanks to South Australia’s excellent cruise infrastructure – which includes recent upgrades to the terminal at Outer Harbor to provide a warmer welcome to passengers as they disembark and a widening and deepening of the channel – that some of the world’s largest cruise ships are heading to our state,” Minister Bettison said.

Wallaroo Jetty, Yorke Peninsula, South Australia | Source: South Australian Tourism Commission/Facebook

Joel Katz, Managing Director of CLIA Australasia said the announcement “signals a major step forward for the recovery of South Australia’s visitor economy”.

Phil Hoffmann, Founder and Managing Director of Phil Hoffmann Travel in South Australia said the 2022/23 commitment by cruise lines “is a great opportunity for South Australia and our domestic operators to have the cruise market resume”.

“To have 101 departures and arrivals in and out of SA is very exciting for the future of cruising and tourism in South Australia,” Hoffmann said.

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