Wollongong joins the cruise ship circuit.
Wollongong welcomed its first cruise ship at Port Kembla on 30 October, with Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas maiden voyage welcomed by 400 volunteers, thousands of curious locals and a regional food and market fair at Lang Park.
Radiance of the Seas brought with it 2000 passengers and 900 crew, with Destination Wollongong's General Manager Mark Sleigh estimating that the one day visit injected $890,000 into the lllawarra economy. Recognising the potential this has for a new industry in Wollongong, Sleigh highlighted the valuable exposure this would bring to the region. 'I think what’s really significant is the way we can sell Wollongong to the world through these cruise ship passengers' he said. With scenic images of Wollongong's coast and escarpment on display to Royal Caribbean's 4 million Facebook followers, the visit represented a unique opportunity for worldwide promotion.
The warm reception provided to the passengers and crew has left a lasting impression, with Royal Caribbean announcing more visits to Wollongong. Set to dock at Port Kembla on 27 December 2016 and 18 January 2017, the Voyager of the Seas is almost twice the size of Radiance of the Seas, and will carry up to 4200 passengers and 1200 crew. Further visits are scheduled for later dates, with Radiance of the Seas making another visit on 14 December 2017 while Explorer of the Seas will make its first visit on 13 March 2018.Image credit: Kramer Photography