The cruise season in Melbourne is quietly getting extended, opening in October and running to next May. Of 62 scheduled arrivals, the port is expecting to host 24 turnarounds for the 2014/2015 program.

Melbourne’s Retail and Hospitality Board has established a working group to focus on cruise ships and conferences.

“We are working with Tourism Victoria to develop an enhanced guide for cruise ship crews,” added Councilor Beverley Pinder-Mortimer, chair of the city council’s marketing portfolio which encompasses tourism and visitation. “The crew can be very influential with passengers when it comes to giving advice on interesting and unusual places to shop, eat and visit. Melbourne has a plethora of these attractions.”

Among other projects are to create a map-based tourist guide for a tram route, and enhancing bus service for cruise passengers.

Pierside, the city has added a visitor center for passengers.

“Visitors are also looking for more experiential holidays: it is less about the amenities and more about a quality and authentic, organic experience,” continued Pinder-Mortimer. “Melbourne has much to offer in this way – we present a fine-grain experience that is not overtly promoted including our arts and culture, our world of laneways and our diverse retail and hospitality.”