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BRISBANE International Cruise Terminal welcomed its first ever cruise ship on Thursday morning with the arrival of Pacific Explorer.

Pacific Explorer sailed from Sydney on Tuesday, marking the first cruise departure from the east coast in more than two years.

Port of Brisbane’s BICT project reached practical completion in mid-2020 but was unable to receive arrivals due to the federal government’s ban on international cruising imposed in March that year. The nation-wide ban lifted in April this year.

“It’s been a long wait, but we are extremely proud to have finally welcomed the Pacific Explorer to the new, $177 million Brisbane International Cruise Terminal,” Port of Brisbane CEO Neil Stephens said

“It was a fantastic sight to see the Pacific Explorer alongside the BICT’s wharf, and then watch hundreds of passengers stream through the facility on their visit to Brisbane.

“Yesterday was a great start, and a really exciting indicator of what’s to come.”

After the vessel had berthed, premier Annastacia Palaszczuk officially opened the facility alongside Mr Stephens, deputy premier Steven Miles, lord mayor Adrian Schrinner and Carnival Australia president Marguerite Fitzgerald.

Mr Stephens said the project had involved many stakeholders over a long period of time, including state government, and thanked them for their support.

“In particular, this facility wouldn’t be here without the strong support of Carnival Australia,” Mr Stephens said.

“They have been on the journey with us since day one, and have made a significant, long-term commitment to the BICT and to cruising in Queensland.

“We’re incredibly appreciative of the partnership we have with Carnival Australia.”

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Mr Stephens said another 21 vessel calls have been scheduled before the end of September and more than 170 for the 2022/23 cruise season, which starts in October.

“The BICT will be the epicentre of cruise line investment in the economy for a long time to come and will bring economic prosperity not just to our region, but to regions up and down Queensland’s coastline.

“We’re very proud to play such an important role in Queensland’s economic growth and the successful resumption of cruising in the state.”

Ms Fitzgerald said Queensland would be at the forefront of the Australian cruise industry’s revival.

“Queensland is going to look a lot like the epicentre of cruising in Australia as the cruise industry continues to rebuild after an absence of more than two years,” Ms Fitzgerald said.

“In coming months, it will look like a near normal cruise season with the combination of ships based in Brisbane or making calls there or to other attractive Queensland destinations.

“All of this activity is great news for suppliers, tour operators and other key parts of the cruising ecosystem.”

Quantum of the Seas is reportedly scheduled to berth in Brisbane later this year, and Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2 are also planning visits to Brisbane next summer.

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