Brisbane's cruise terminal welcomed its millionth passenger at the weekend - eight years ahead of schedule.
Passenger numbers at the Brisbane Cruise Terminal (BCT), owned and operated by Brookfield Residential Properties, have increased by 207 per cent from 45,000 to 138,000 since its launch in 2006.
Brookfield Residential Properties regional director Lee Butterworth said the terminal's popularity and growth had far exceeded any projections and the millionth passenger had arrived eight years earlier than first forecast.
"When opened, the terminal was expected to experience up to 34 cruise ship visits per year but that figure has almost tripled in seven years to 96 visits annually," he said.
"We have reached our one millionth passenger in seven years, but our projections show we will see another million passengers through in less than four years."
utterworth said the Brisbane Cruise Terminal was experiencing its biggest cruise season to date, and had been one of the catalysts for unprecedented growth in the cruise industry in Australia.
"While most industries, including tourism, were declining during the GFC, the cruise industry defied the trend by experiencing double digit growth year on year," he said.
"This is something that would not have been possible without the Brisbane Cruise Terminal and the various shipping lines taking advantage of an opportunity to increase market penetration."
Brisbane enjoyed a stellar summer cruising season, with 24 unique ships notching up a total of 71 visits from October 2013 to April 2014, bringing with them 138,000 passengers and 50,000 crew members from all over the world.
This winter, three leading luxury liners changed their base from Sydney to Brisbane, bringing an additional 39,000 passengers to the city and securing Brisbane's position as the second largest cruise port in the country.
According to Ian Hunter, director of Cruising Down Under at Portside Wharf, Brisbane is not only attracting a large number of ships but also drawing some of the highest rated cruise liners in the world.
"This year's cruise schedule highlights how popular Brisbane has become with national and international cruise liners and passengers," Mr Hunter said.
"Not only are we attracting an extremely large number of ships to our shores but the calibre of cruise liners docking in Brisbane this year is extremely high."
Hunter said the increasing passenger numbers were testament to a blossoming tourism industry and the evolution of Brisbane as a highly sought-after cruise destination.
"It is fantastic for our city and will inject millions of dollars into our local economy," he said.
"We are seeing new ships add Brisbane to their schedule as well as previous ones returning, which means Brisbane is continuing to establish itself as a must-see destination and a permanent fixture on many cruising itineraries.
"We are increasingly hearing favourable comments about the Brisbane Cruise Terminal, in particular from officers and crew members who report that Portside Wharf is one of the most popular cruise facilities in the world and a 'breath of fresh air' from the many industrial port complexes they typically dock at.
"With such a variety of shops, restaurants and facilities in the Portside Wharf precinct, it makes those quick stopovers a relaxing and enjoyable experience for both passengers and crew, and for those who don't make it into the CBD, it's a beautiful representation of our city.
"For passengers with a longer stay, the CBD and South Bank is just a short, six kilometre bus or taxi ride to where you'll find all best attractions or visitors can take in the sights on a City Cat ride from Bretts Wharf."
The Brisbane Cruise Terminal was privately developed and operated as part of Portside Wharf at no cost to the taxpayer as part of the State Government's initiative to redevelop old ports and turn them into vibrant, integrated destinations for cruise ships and the community.
The Brisbane Cruise Terminal has the capacity to conduct a full turnaround of up to 3,000 passengers including full passenger and baggage screening with 30 dedicated check-in counters and customs and quarantine facilities.
There is a carpark for visitors and guests, a large taxi staging area and a dedicated area for up to 40 tour coaches, making it the ideal base for cruise liners.