Royal Caribbean Ship in Darwin

Darwin, in Australia’s wild Northern Territory (NT), will take its recent 45-ship record season and turn it into a 47-ship season for 2016-2017, with more than 60,000 cruise passengers expected, according to Richard Schoonraad, manager market development for Tourism NT.

The Landbridge Group took over the Darwin port in late 2015, and has released a development scheme including a $25 million AUD investment that includes improvements to the cruise terminal.

Pier-side, passengers can expect local meet-and-greet volunteers with information and free maps.

Elsewhere, Tourism NT is working with the remote indigenous communities along Australia’s coastline for cruise ship calls.

Ponant and Hapag-Lloyd ships called in Yirrkala, on the north eastern tip of Arnhem Land, earlier this year.

Ponant’s Le Soleal then visited the Tiwi Islands, off the coast of Darwin. The Silver Discoverer also visited the Tiwi Islands, before heading to Elcho Island, where it called in at Ban’thula, a remote community of 40 people. That call took authorities some 12 months to put together for Silversea, Schoonraad said.

“The community had worked for months practicing a welcome ceremony before showing their guests around, and having interactive painting, weaving and spear-throwing demonstrations. The relatively undiscovered communities of the northern coastline are ideal for expedition visits, and Tourism NT continues to promote these opportunities. Australian Reef Pilots is instrumental in ensuring the technical logistics of these visits are well planned and perfectly executed,” said Schoonraad.