IT’S not the longest, but it’s certainly the biggest.
Big Explorer sets sights on Newcastle TweetFacebook The Explorer of the Seas +30MORE GALLERIES
facebookSHAREtwitterTWEETemailwhatsappcommentCommentsIn February 2019 theRoyal Caribbean cruise shipExplorer of Seas will make its two visits to Newcastle,carrying some 3,900 passengers each time.
It will make it the largest cruise ship –in tonnage, and passenger numbers –to visit the city.
While the 317-metre Celebrity Solstice, which first visited in 2014, is still the longestluxury cruise ship to dock in Newcastle –by about five metres – the 138,000 tonneExplorer is heavier by about 16,000 tonnes, and can carry1100 more passengers.
Billed by its parent company Royal Caribbean as the second largest cruise ship in Australia, its arrival isonly possible thanks to the state and federal government’s infamous joint $800,000 bollard fund.
The bollards – 12 steel piles,each about 14-metres long, driven into Newcastle’s channel berth –arethe first stage ofthe new $13.5 millioncruise ship terminal in Newcastle due to be completed by mid-next year.
Planning Minister Anthony Roberts was in Newcastle on Thursday to inspect thebollards, he said the new terminal was “a key part of NSW Government’s program to revitalise Newcastle and will contribute around $26.7 million to the local economy and an additional 76 jobs through construction and flow on effects”.
The luxurycruise ship –a room with a balconyon a ninenight South Pacificcruise from Sydneywill set you back some $1,500 dollars per person –boasts a rock walloverlookingthe sea, a 9,623 square foot casino and some 15 bars, clubs and lounges, but tourism operators in the Hunter will be hoping they can entice passengers on shore.
The industry wasworth about $11 million to the Hunter’s economy in 2016, but with 18 cruise ships expected between February and November this year that figure is expected to continue to grow.
Adam Armstrong, the managing director ofRoyal Caribbean in Australia and New Zealand said the company was “delighted to be working closely with the Port of Newcastle as it enters a new era of mega cruise ship travel”.