PORT of Eden’s summer cruise season has been its busiest on record, with cruise ship visits up more than 20% compared with the previous summer season.

Australia’s 2023-24 cruise season wraps up in April. By then, Eden will have clocked up 41 cruise ship visits over the season, bringing 70,000 passengers and 30,000 crew into the regional port.

Norwegian Spirit, the second-last cruise ship of Eden’s summer season, docked today (27 March) in Snug Cove.

“When you reflect on the last two summer cruise seasons, we’ve seen around 70 ships sail into Eden, and we’re anticipating a future boom,” Port Authority of New South Wales CEO Phil Holliday said.

“Port Authority is working to secure the future growth of the cruise industry in NSW through investment in our regional ports,” he said.

“We are also bolstering on-the-ground resources on cruise days and recently appointed a dedicated Port Authority Eden Cruise Operations Supervisor to further support the day-to-day cruise operations and cruise lines when cruise ships are in port.”

NSW minister for transport Jo Haylen said the “enormously successful” cruise season had come with economic benefits.

“By the official end of the summer season on 6 April, there will have been over 100,000 cruise passengers and crew sailing into the Port of Eden, making it one of the most significant drivers of the region’s tourism industry,” Ms Haylen said.

“According to data from Cruise Lines International Association, each domestic cruise passenger spends on average $197 per day while in port which helps to boost NSW regional economies.”

Eden is the largest regional cruise port in NSW. The state government said the port had demonstrated its capability to handle visits from some of the largest international cruise ships sailing into NSW.

The government noted that bookings are made three years in advance, so while the upcoming 2024-25 season was affected by covid with around 25 ships expected to visit, more growth is expected for the summer season 2025-26, with 47 cruise visits already booked.