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Cruise Shipping in Australia and the South Pacific C 2004 and Beyond


									                                                       Ports & Destinations

                                          Cruise Shipping in Australia and the South Pacific –
                                          2004 and Beyond
                                                                                                                                          a report by
                                                                                                                                Mike Bartlett

                                                                                                              Executive Director, Cruise Down Under

                                          In the decade that has passed since Cruise Down           coastal cruise each year, to Melbourne for the
                                          Under (CDU) was established to market the                 Melbourne Cup each November.
                                          region’s cruise destinations to the cruise industry,
                                          Australia and the region have seen a steady growth        All of her other cruises feature the South Pacific;
                                          in the number of visits to their cruise destinations      however, this is set to change in 2004, when she is
                                          by cruise ships.                                          to be joined by the Pacific Sun (formerly Carnival
                                                                                                    Cruise Line’s Jubilee), which will mean that both
                                          In 1991, there were 134 visits to eight Australian        ships will be based in the region for the whole year.
  Mike Bartlett is Executive Director
         of Cruise Down Under, having
                                          destinations by 22 different cruise ships. By 1999, a     They will then incorporate more coastal cruises,
             co-founded it in 1993 and    record year, this had grown to 821 visits to 33           including a period of three months when the Pacific
           subsequently been appointed    destinations by 28 different cruise ships – an increase   Sky will be based in Brisbane for the Great Barrier
        Chairman until 2002. Although
 semi-retired, he is Chairman of the      in visits of over 600% over 10 years and an impressive    Reef and Pacific cruises.
      Marine Board of Queensland, on      growth by any standards.
      several other boards and has a
     small cruise oriented consultancy
                                                                                                    The predictions of the author of this article are not as
       business. He is a Fellow of the    However, this record will be eclipsed in 2004 with        optimistic as those of others who foresee the
Chartered Institute of Transport and      947 bookings to date for 52 destinations by 35 cruise     extensive cruising grounds of the CDU region ever
             Member of the Institute of
   Industrial Engineers and is a past     ships. This includes visits to New Caledonia, which       competing with the major cruise regions of the
        president of the Association of   became a member of CDU in 2001.                           Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Alaska or Northern
               Australian Port & Marine
                                                                                                    Europe. The most compelling argument for this is
    Authorities. Mr Bartlett began his
            career at sea in the 1950s,   Passenger numbers are difficult to ascertain, but         that there is not the resident population in the region
    working his way up to becoming        statistics gathered by members of CDU show that           necessary to be able to fill the cruise ships on a
    master before coming ashore and
         working in manufacturing and     232,000 passengers visited Australian destinations in     weekly basis. Also, with the exception of New
      mining before commencing port       2000 aboard cruise ships.                                 Zealand, the destinations are not close enough
                  management in 1980.                                                               together, nor varied enough, to provide a different
                                          So much for the past decade; but it would be              destination to cruise passengers every day.
                                          interesting to know what is in store for the Australian
                                          region in the next decade.                                In general terms, the CDU region refers to the area
                                                                                                    between Tahiti and Singapore, including the South
                                          Certainly, nothing can be predicted with certainty        Pacific nations, New Zealand, New Caledonia,
                                          but there is no doubt that cruising in the region will    Australia, Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, which
                                          increase, and is likely to keep pace with the overall     tends to be regarded by most cruise companies as a
                                          worldwide increase in cruising, which is currently        cruising region. Consequently, from its inception,
                                          around 8% per year.                                       CDU, which is a not-for-profit association of cruise
                                                                                                    destinations and companies dedicated to marketing
                                          The increase of the past decade will not be repeated      the region to cruise companies, has always operated
                                          unless one or more additional cruise ships begin          in association with Cruise New Zealand.
                                          operating in Australia for cruises on the Australian
                                          coast; and, certainly, at least three companies are       As mentioned previously, New Caledonia has
                                          investigating this possibility at present. Currently      joined CDU to help in marketing its cruise
                                          there is only one – Captain Cook Cruises Reef             destinations, which play an important role in cruise
                                          Endeavour, which provides all-year-round cruises of       itineraries in the region. Cruise destinations in
                                          the Great Barrier Reef from Cairns. It is owned and       New Caledonia have experienced significant
                                          crewed by Australians and has carried passengers          growth in recent years.
                                          from over 50 different countries.
                                                                                                    CDU’s major partner in the region is Cruise New
                                          The well-known and popular P&O Cruises Pacific            Zealand, which markets the popular cruise
30                                        Sky, based in Sydney, now operates only one               destinations that abound in New Zealand. Their

                                                                                                              BUSINESS BRIEFING: GLOBAL CRUISE 2004
                       Cruise Shipping in Australia and the South Pacific – 2004 and Beyond

close proximity to one another makes it possible to      The success of cruising in the CDU region is largely
have seven- to 14-day itineraries, calling entirely at   dependent on the fly-cruise market and North
destinations within the country, utilising Auckland as   American passengers make up a large proportion of
the base port for fly-cruise operations.                 this market, so it is critical that they regain their
                                                         confidence in flying and once again fill up the flights
CDU and Cruise New Zealand have long had a               across the Pacific Ocean.
strong affinity and a friendly rivalry and, each year,
they share the same booth at the Seatrade Cruise         Some North American cruise company executives
Shipping Convention, under the name Cruise               have subsequently admitted, with the benefit of
Australia and New Zealand.                               hindsight, that the immediate withdrawal of cruise
                                                         ships from regions far from North America happened
In 2004, New Caledonia, which has shared the             too hastily and was not necessary in every case.
booth with Australia and New Zealand previously,
had its own distinct presence, with a Cruise New         However, the strategy has worked overall in that the
Caledonia booth. In August 2004, the two                 number of people taking cruises has increased; fares
associations will join in a single conference for the    have risen to their pre-11 September levels and
first time, to be held in New Caledonia, which lies      beyond. Confidence is returning and at the 2004
midway between the two.                                  Seatrade Cruise Shipping Convention in Miami,
                                                         several cruise lines indicated they would return to
There is no doubt that the tragic events of 11           the CDU region in 2006 and 2007. It is only a
September 2001 had the effect of reducing cruise         matter of time before cruising to this region returns
ship visits to Australia in late 2001 and 2002; and it   to and then exceeds previous levels.
was only in 2003 that the number of visits returned
to and exceeded pre-2001 levels.                         Certainly, more and more quality cruise ships have
                                                         experienced the region’s attractions in recent years;
However, 2004 is shaping up to be a record year, with    and the ships have enjoyed a profitable occupancy,
some North American cruise passengers travelling         which means that the companies have a reason to
further from home than they have before.                 keep returning and to increase the capacity and
                                                                          Cruise Shipping in Australia/South Pacific

                                                                       quality of the cruise ships they deploy in the region.
                                                                       For instance, in the last few years, newer, higher-

                                                                       quality cruise ships have appeared in CDU cruise
                                                                       locations, such as the Amsterdam, Asuka, Aurora,
                                                                       C Columbus, Crown Odyssey, Crystal Harmony, Crystal
                                                                       Symphony, Deutschland, Europa, Legend of the Seas,
                                                                       Norwegian Wind, Oriana, Pacific Princess, Pacific Venus,
                                                                       Regal Princess, Rotterdam, Royal Princess, Seven Seas
                                                                       Navigator, Seven Seas Voyager, Silver Shadow, Silver
                                                                       Whisper, Star Princess, Superstar Leo, Superstar Virgo,
                                                                       The World and Volendam, to name but a few.

                                                                       Some, particularly the larger ones, have attracted
                                                                       large welcoming crowds of people who are
                                                                       unaccustomed to seeing so many large, modern
                                                                       cruise ships in the ports of the CDU region.

                                                                       Certainly, Star Cruises of Malaysia did the cruise
                                                                       industry and Australian destinations a great favour
                                                                       when, during the SARS epidemic in Asia in 2003, it
                                                                       repositioned its two largest and most modern cruise
                                                                       ships, Superstar Leo and Superstar Virgo, to cruise on
                                                                       the Australian coast and into the South Pacific. In
                                                                       three months, they carried over 45,000 mostly
                                                                       Australian passengers and identified a demand for
                                                                       cruises that had not previously been recognised.

                                                                       The publicity surrounding the deployment of these
                                                                       ships also assisted Australian governments, both
                                                                       Commonwealth and state, to recognise the value of
Amadeus Cruise gets you into more agencies than ever before.           cruise shipping to the nation and its ability to take
                                                                       tourism to diverse regional areas. Estimates vary, but
                                                                       the one quoted most often is that cruising brings
Why? Because...
                                                                       A$2.7 billion annually to the Australian economy.

Amadeus Cruise is a stand-alone product that can be used in any        A major advantage of the increase in the range and
agent’s desk top. With its state-of-the-art technology, it makes       quality of the cruise ships visiting Australia is the
cruise bookings a piece of cake. Amadeus Cruise gets the agents        opportunity that presents itself for Australians to
off the phone – it drastically lowers phone bills, call centre costs   take quality cruises without flying overseas to join
and saves time. Whatever your fares, Amadeus Cruise makes cruise       and return from a cruise.
booking cost effective and does not eat into your margins. And
                                                                       Australians like to cruise and many go overseas
more: with Amadeus Cruise, agents can plan and book excursions
                                                                       each year to do so. Now they have the opportunity
at any destination point, quickly and painlessly.                      to either join a cruise ship in their own country, or
                                                                       to join it overseas and cruise home.
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                                                                       Certainly, many are taking advantage of this as is
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                                                                       whom were able to cruise.

                                                                       In conclusion, it is the author’s belief that Australia
                                                                       and the region will improve its position among the
                                                                       world’s cruise regions and enjoy reasonable growth,
                                                                       accompanied by a consistent increase in the quality
                                                                       and variety of cruise ships available to passengers. It
                                                                       will remain a popular, attractive and safe destination
                                                                       for the more discerning cruise passengers. ■

                                                                                 BUSINESS BRIEFING: GLOBAL CRUISE 2004

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