Pacific Eden in Portland

“The Port of Portland (Victoria, Australia) currently has three cruise vessels booked over the next two years, and is confident that this figure will grow,” said Kara King, business development manager.

“The Glenelg Shire Council and the Port of Portland, with support from Visit Victoria, are in talks with key operators to schedule more visits over the coming years, building new onshore offerings, which will include excursions to the south east of South Australia to explore the Coonawarra wine region and Mount Gambier’s Blue Lake.”

She said as new shoreside experiences are added, she expects more cruise lines to call.

Earlier this year the destination was flexible in accommodating the Pacific Eden on 24 hours’ notice when the cruise line made a last minute port switch due to weather conditions.

“Despite the late notice, the town united by rallying shuttle buses led by a team of dedicated volunteers who transported the visitors on a set route throughout the town to explore key tourist sites,” King said.

The town was also able to organize some 30 market stalls overnight.

Among other projects, the local pilots group will be running a simulation to berth large cruise vessels, in hopes the port can attract larger ships.

“We are very keen to secure more cruise vessels for the summer seasons as this is when the weather conditions are most favorable in Portland,” King continued. “However, there is great potential to leverage our whale watching period during the winter months, when whales can be spotted in Portland Bay and the surrounding area.”

The port is optimally suited for smaller vessels, under 2,000 passengers, and planning is underway to add a new playground area near the wharf, including better connections to the central business area of the town. Free WiFi is offered with connection upgrades planned.

“Portland delivers a welcoming party that makes us stand out from the crowd,” King added. “Guests are shuttled directly to their location, whether exploring a local site or delivered to their awaiting coach tour – the service is personal, and led by a dedicated team of volunteer cruise ship ambassadors. This service is free of charge.”