P&O Cruises Australia's flagship, Pacific Explorer, received a spectacular welcome to Brisbane in the early hours of Thursday, June 2, marking the first cruise ship to dock at the new Brisbane International Cruise Terminal (BICT).
Passing down the Brisbane River at 7am, her arrival marked the half-way point in the first guest cruise from Sydney following the restart of cruising in Australia.
P&O Cruises Australia President Marguerite Fitzgerald said Pacific Encounter will take up residence in Brisbane as her home port from August 2022.
The $177 million Brisbane International Cruise Terminal was completed in 2020, during the pandemic.
Queensland has 14 cruise ship ports and anchorages, with the new terminal now capable of docking the largest cruise vessels in the world.
Cruise Ship itineraries over the next six months includes Cairns, the Whitsundays, Willis Island, Port Douglas, Gladstone and Townsville.
The Quantum of the Seas is scheduled to berth in Brisbane later in 2022 and Cairns in January 2023, while the Queen Elizabeth, Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2 are planning visits to Brisbane, Airlie Beach, Cairns and Port Douglas next summer.
"Today marks the relaunch of Queensland's cruise ship industry for our Covid-19 Economic Recovery Plan," state premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said.
"Having the new international terminal ready to go puts Queensland in a good position to become Australia's cruise ship capital.
"More cruise ship destinations than any other Australian state and great winter weather makes Queensland the obvious choice to lead cruising's relaunch.
"We've worked closely with NSW, Victoria, the Federal Government and the industry to develop consistent protocols to get cruise ships back in the water.
"These protocols put in place minimum standards for managing Covid and keeping passengers safe."