ALMOST 2500 tourists will visit Newcastle Harbour on Monday as cruise season gets under way.
The arrival of 270-metre-long Rhapsody of the Seas signals the beginning of a busy few months for the Port of Newcastle.
Celebrity Millennium follows on Friday, at 293metres long, with the two ships expected to bring almost 5000 passengers and about 1500 crew members.
Newcastle Port Corporation chief executive Gary Webb said 10 cruise ships were scheduled to visit between November and May.
‘‘We have some very big cruise ships visiting Newcastle this season,’’ he said.
‘‘Celebrity Millennium, which visited in January 2009, is the largest cruise ship to berth in Newcastle.
‘‘Its November visit will be followed by another 293-metre-long cruise ship, Radiance of the Seas, making its inaugural voyage to Newcastle in late December before returning in February and April next year.’’
About 22,000 passengers will make landfall in the Hunter during the season, boosting the region’s economy.
Cruise Hunter co-ordinator David Brown said a new mobile phone application would be launched to help inform passengers about tourist attractions in the Hunter.
‘‘The mobile phone app is the first of its kind in Australia to provide information specifically targeted at passengers on visiting cruise ships,’’ he said.
The app is for the large numbers of cruise ship passengers who do not take pre-booked shore tours sold on board but are seeking things to see and do in Newcastle.