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Geelong’s cruise ship market has a small problem

February 12, 2024 8:22 am in by
MV Viking Sky (cruiseoffers.com.au)

A second cruise ship in as many days has anchored in Geelong, as the city attempts to grow its reputation as a destination for international tourists.

Viking Ocean Cruises’ MV Viking Sky entered Corio bay just before 7am Monday morning, following the departure a few hours earlier of Silversea Cruises’ Silver Whisper.

When the boutique vessels have left, 1300 passengers will have spent the better part of a day exploring the best Geelong and the Surf Coast has to offer.

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While their expected spend of approximately $800 per person will be welcomed by a local tourism industry still feeling the after-effects of COVID-19 lockdowns, it is chicken feed compared to the potential revenue from a single visit from larger ships capable of carrying upwards of 7,000 passengers in a single trip.

Tourism Greater Geelong and the Bellarine CEO, Tracy Carter, said Geelong’s cruise market is still in its infancy but its contribution to the local economy is growing.

“The handful we’ve had this season will bring in an economic benefit of about $1.7 million dollars,” she said.

“That’s really important because it gives a little boost to the local economy while they’re here.”

Viking Sky was launched in 2016 and entered service with Viking Ocean Cruises the following year,

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With a length of 228 metres and a beam of just under 30 metres, the ship has 465 cabins and two pools as well as restaurants, spa, fitness centre, its own theatre and on-board shops.

Geelong has struggled to capitalise on the surging popularity of ocean cruising for more than a decade, hampered by the relatively shallow depth of Corio Bay and a lack of political will.

The lack of a dedicated cruise terminal means port visits to Geelong are restricted to ships with a relatively shallow draft, which are forced to anchor and transport their passengers ashore by tender.

The MS Regatta, operated by Oceania Cruises, is due to visit Geelong in March.

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