PORT of Fremantle welcomed Virgin Voyages’ Resilient Lady on 2 April as the cruise ship made its maiden voyage to Western Australia.

Its first call to Fremantle will be the last for some time – Virgin Voyages recently pulled the ship’s Aussie port calls for the 2024/25 cruise season over dangers to shipping in the Red Sea.  

But the maiden visit on Tuesday was welcomed by the Western Australian government, who said it was one of the port city’s biggest cruise ship calls of the current season.

To mark the occasion, a ceremonial plaque exchange took place between the ship’s captain and WA government representatives.

More than 2000 passengers and crew were greeted at the Fremantle Passenger Terminal, where they were offered a complimentary shuttle service to Fremantle’s Walyalup Koort for a Welcome to Country, smoking ceremony and dance performance by a local Noongar dance group.

“Cruise tourism is incredibly important to the WA economy, injecting hundreds-of-millions of dollars into our state through visitor spend in local businesses, bars and restaurants, and creating hundreds of jobs for Western Australians,” tourism minister Rita Saffioti said.

“I hope all guests of the Resilient Lady have a wonderful stay while visiting Western Australia and make plans to return to visit us again in future.”

The Resilient Lady’s visit was one of 140 cruise ship visits to WA’s nine active port destinations this cruise season.

Fremantle Port will welcome the highest volume of cruise line passengers in the state this year, with nearly 30 cruise visits bringing more than 36,000 passengers and 17,000 crew to the port city.  

Other big cruise ships making their maiden voyages to WA in 2024 include Princess Cruises’ Island Princess – with 2200 passengers; Royal Caribbean’s Brilliance of the Seas – with more than 2500 passengers; and Ambassador Cruise Lines’ Ambience – with 1400 passengers – which will make stops in Albany, Fremantle and Geraldton.

The WA recently launched Tourism WA’s Western Australian Cruise Tourism Strategic Plan 2023-2033, which outlines plans to build on the sector’s success.