Royal Caribbean International’s Radiance of the Seas has made the first-ever visit by a cruise vessel to Wollongong in New South Wales.

The 2,200 guests onboard arrived in Port Kembla at 8am and were welcomed with a special fly-over by a vintage Catalina flying boat, as well as thousands of excited locals waving the ship in from vantage points along the South Coast, said a statement from Royal Caribbean. 

“We have been working towards our call to Wollongong for quite some time. Guests onboard Radiance of the Seas had a wonderful day exploring the city and local area, making the dedication and hard work that’s gone into this project for the past two and a half years all worthwhile,” said Adam Armstrong, managing director, Royal Caribbean Australia & New Zealand.

Destination Wollongong General Manager, Mark Sleigh said: “When Councillor Leigh Colacino first approached Royal Caribbean to discuss bringing cruise ships to Wollongong, he promised that the community would look after their guests as well as any destination in the world. I’m delighted that Wollongong more than delivered on that promise, and made the maiden voyage of Radiance of the Seas a day that Wollongong, and indeed our visitors, will never forget!”

“This was the first of many visits to Wollongong: we have now scheduled four more calls over the next 18 months with the larger 3,800-guest megaliners Voyager of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas. In total, we expect to bring in more than 16,000 visitors and inject more than $2.8 million into the local economy,” continued Armstrong.