The Northern Territory on Thursday welcomed the Westerdam on its maiden voyage to Darwin.

The vessel was docked at the Port of Darwin for the day and the nearly 2000 passengers and 800 crew had the chance to disembark and explore Darwin.

The Westerdam spent Christmas in New Zealand before travelling up the East Coast of Australia, and entering Darwin for the first time on Thursday.

According to a statement from the NT government, cruising provides a crucial economic boost during the quieter visitor months between October and April, with 50,000 passengers sailing into town.

Pre-pandemic figures show cruise passengers contribute $60 million of annual expenditure within the Northern Territory.

The Northern Territory government has implemented its Cruise Tourism Strategy 2022-2025 to identify the roadmap to increase both cruise liners and expedition ships over the next three years.

NT minister for tourism and hospitality Nicole Manison said cruise visits to Darwin said, “In our traditionally quieter months, it gives our retailers a bump in sales, puts diners in our restaurants and brings tourists to our experienced operators.

“A thriving tourism market all year round, boosted by our cruise ship visitors, means a strong industry and well-paying jobs for Territorians,” Ms Manison said.