Coronavirus leads to jump in local cruise ship capacity — and deals

Posted on 03 Mar 2020

One glimmer of good news from the coronavirus crisis is a flood of cheap cruise deals as cruise lines redeploy ships to the relatively safe haven of Australian waters.

It is also good news for South Australian regional ports as an extra 13 ship visits are hurriedly scheduled bringing the number of cruise ship visits to SA in the 2019-20 season to 86 with a potential capacity of 186,378 visitors.

These include an extra six ship visits to Adelaide, four to Kangaroo Island and three to Port Lincoln.

A visit by a large ship can be worth as much as $1 million with passengers spending an average of $387 per person each shore day.

Chair of Kangaroo Island Tourism Food Wine and Beverage Association Pierre Gregor welcomed the extra visits as the island recovers from fires.

“These will bring more visitors and see more people on tours, spending in local shops, cafes and restaurants and buying local produce,” he said.

“I am confident tour operators will embrace the opportunity to showcase the post-fire remarkable signs of native bush and vegetation recovery.

“Fires are a part of the Australian landscape and witnessing the recovery on Kangaroo Island adds another string to the ‘uniqueness’ of the experience on offer.”

City of Port Lincoln Tourism Development Officer Naomi Blacker said: “The benefits of cruise ships is far reaching, not only do tour operators benefit but our retail sector and local eateries enjoy increased trade — everything from boutiques and cafes to supermarkets and books shop report much higher turnover on cruise ship days.”

RAA Travel general manager Gina Norman said record capacity meant heavily discounted deals.

“A similar thing happened with SARS when cruise ships came here as an alternative,” Ms Norman said.

“It is an opportunity out of the darkness of this disease and the deals coming through are phenomenal — a 22-night voyage on Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth from Sydney to San Francisco is now priced from $1699 which is amazing value.”

Princess Cruises has 44 new itineraries on Sapphire Princess as the ship is redeployed to Australia six months early from May for a year-long season including a 29-night circumnavigation of Australia departing from Adelaide in September.

Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth will extend its stay in Australia until May then head to the United States instead of going to Asia while Royal Caribbean is bringing the new 4180-guest Spectrum of the Seas to Australia instead of Asia.

Kangaroos, koalas hop on board KI’s London campaign

Banner advertisements emblazoned on London’s famous red double decker buses are reminding locals that despite recent bushfires, Kangaroo Island is well and truly open for business.

SeaLink Travel Group has launched the month-long campaign, complete with photos of kangaroos and koalas, proclaiming: “Kangaroo Island – we’re open for business.”

The enticement for tourists to make the 16,270km journey to “meet the Aussie locals” comes as Londoners and visitors to the city endure a cold, bleak winter and will see the iconic buses carry the message while trundling past famous landmarks such as Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral and The Shard.

SeaLink Travel Group chief executive Clint Feuerherdt estimated millions of Londoners and international tourists visiting the city will see the bus-borne campaign over the coming month.

“It is more important now than ever before that we are promoting our beautiful country, encouraging people to visit as it is safe to travel to Australia,” he said.

“We are using our global footprint to show the world that most of Australia was not affected by the recent bushfires, and it is still the most diverse, beautiful and friendly place to visit with so much to see and do.”

Mr Feuerherdt said the regeneration after the fires is now “happening right before our eyes”.

“It’s a spectacle in itself with all the vibrant colours literally rising from the ashes. It is something you simply don’t want to miss,” he said.

SeaLink is the second largest employer on Kangaroo Island and provided vital support during the fires and now in the recovery phase, including a $600,000 support package and $15 passenger fares to boost tourism.

Coronavirus leads to jump in local cruise ship capacity — and deals by Brad Crouch originally seen on Adelaide Now on 1 March 2020. 

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