The largest cruise ship to visit the Hunter region made its maiden voyage into Newcastle Harbour on Sunday.
Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas, a 310-metre long cruise ship accommodating up to 4000 guests and 1200 crew, arrived at 8am before a 5pm departure.
It was estimated passengers would inject more than $600,000 into the regional economy during the visit.
Port of Newcastle and the ship’s Captain Kjetil Gjerstad exchanged a plaque on the ship’s bridge to mark the maiden voyage.
Port of Newcastle CEO Craig Carmody said Explorer of the Seas’ visit was an important milestone for the port in its biggest cruise season to date.
“Explorer of the Seas’ maiden visit to Newcastle signifies the attraction of Newcastle as a destination port with its proximity to the Newcastle coastline, Hunter Valley wine region and Port Stephens,” he said.
“We are proud to facilitate the cruise tourism economy and the important economic benefits it has for the region and the community.”
Royal Caribbean’s managing director Susan Bonner said that Explorer of the Seas’ call is one of four to the Port of Newcastle for the 2018/19 cruise season by RCL Cruises, incorporating Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises, bringing more than 12,000 tourists to NSW’s second largest city this summer.
“Newcastle’s vibrant city centre coupled with easy access to world class beaches, coastal countryside and rolling vineyards makes it an incredibly popular port of call amongst both our Australian and international guests,” she said.
“We receive consistently positive feedback from our guests about their time in Newcastle, particularly for friendliness of locals.”
Explorer of the Seas will return to Newcastle next Saturday as well.