P&O Cruises Makes Sunshine State Home, Boosting Queensland Tourism

  • P&O Cruises will commence port calls in Townsville from 2025.
  • P&O made the announcement in Brisbane, during the launch of the company’s 90th anniversary celebration.
  • The cruise industry contributes more than $1 billion to the Queensland economy annually, supporting over 3000 jobs.

Australia’s most popular cruise line, P&O Cruises, will add Townsville to its line-up of port calls from 2025.

This significant commitment to Queensland’s economy and tourism sector comes as P&O celebrates 90 years of cruising in Australia – building on its strong track record of investing in the sunshine state.

P&O’s Pacific Encounter cruise ship will also call Brisbane’s upgraded International Cruise Terminal home.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today joined P&O’s crew, both past and present, dedicated suppliers and avid cruisers to celebrate the future of cruising in Queensland.

Throughout 2023, P&O Cruises will see more than 118 ship visits across Queensland, providing more than $500 million, both directly and indirectly to the state’s economy.

Setting sail into Townsville is only made possible by the $251 million Channel Upgrade at the Port of Townsville, being delivered by the Palaszczuk Government.

The project will see the 14.9-kilometre channel widened from 92 metres to 180 metres in width.

Due to be complete in 2024, the channel upgrade enables the port to accommodate larger vessels up to 300 metres long. This includes cruise ships capable of carrying more than 2,000 passengers.

The project is part of a broader $1.6 billion, 30-year expansion plan for the Port of Townsville.

Quotes attributable to the Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk:

“Today’s announcement is big news for cruising in Queensland, and the start of an even bigger chapter for Townsville.

“Our government has continued to back the cruising industry to support economic development up the length of Queensland’s coastline.

“This industry brings millions of tourists to our doorstep to experience everything we have to offer and as a result, thousands of local businesses and communities benefit.

“P&O’s commitment to our great state means more tourists, both locally, interstate and internationally can experience not only South-East Queensland but also more of North Queensland.”

Quotes attributable to member for Townsville Scott Stewart:

“It’s been fantastic having cruise ships return to Townsville helping bring visitors and economic benefit to our city.

“It’s also fantastic to see the channel upgrade at the Port of Townsville progressing because this will allow bigger cruise ships to come to the city which will help our local businesses in the future.”

Quotes attributable to Carnival Australia and P&O Cruises President, Marguerite Fitzgerald:

“Holding almost 40 per cent of our market, Queensland is the epicentre of cruising. Our guests loving cruising in Queensland, and we love cruising here.

“That’s why we have invested and will continue to invest in Queensland.

“Whether it’s supporting the Port of Brisbane through significant upgrades, calling the capital home for our magnificent Pacific Encounter or unlocking North and Far North Queensland through adding Townsville to our itinerary – we are proud to back Queensland and make it the number one destination for cruising.

“In addition to our announcements made today, we also want to give our sincere thanks to the millions of Queenslanders who have supported us over the past 90 years and choosing to cruise with P&O Cruises.

“It is our crew, our suppliers, federal, state and local governments and importantly, our guests who have made this milestone one to remember and why we continue to commit to Queensland destinations.”

Quotes attributable to Federal Member for Lilley and Minister for Aged Care and Sport Anika Wells:

“Celebrating this milestone and looking back at P&O Cruises’ rich nine-decade history really highlights just how critical cruising is to our national tourism industry, my hometown of Brisbane and the electorate of Lilley.”

Quotes attributable to Port of Townsville CEO Ranee Crosby:

“The Port of Townsville extremely excited to welcome P&O Cruises to the line-up for our 2024/25 Cruise Season.

“The Pacific Encounter and Pacific Explorer will be the biggest cruise ships Townsville has ever seen, carrying more than 4,500 passengers and almost 2,000 crew between them.

“These two vessels are the first to book in anticipation of our readiness to accommodate larger ships following the Channel Upgrade project. They are proof that the upgrade is going to deliver prosperity directly into North Queensland businesses, with $2.25 million expected to flow into the city during the two visits.

“P&O’s confidence in Townsville will help power our city’s cruise tourism into its next evolution, and the Port is looking forward to working closely with Townsville City Council, Townsville Enterprise and local tourism operators to ensure that we are ready to make the most of this exciting next phase.

“The Port of Townsville is now warmly welcoming bookings for cruise ships up to 300m long for visits from 1 December 2024.”

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