Pacific Explorer in Sydney (Photo: Clyde Dickens)

There are no surprises in Sydney as 2017-2018 is a record cruise season with seven maiden calls and more expected in the coming years.

“Currently Sydney has more demand from the largest cruise ships than we have capacity for during the summer peak season,” said a port authority spokesperson, in a prepared statement. Last season, 336 ships called.

Among the key highlights is the first visit ever from AIDA as the AIDAcara will call on her world cruise.

“There will be an increase from 12 to around 20 international transit calls in 2017-2018 reflecting the growth in this sector. There is ample capacity at White Bay Cruise Terminal to accept visits from these smaller, boutique ships,” said the spokesperson.

Norwegian Cruise Line is also back for a second consecutive season, extending its operation in Australia further into the spring.

The NSW Government recently formed a cruise industry reference group that has a big goal: figure out a place for additional cruise ship capacity east of the harbor bridge. A full plan is expected by the end of 2017.

Other ideas include a revamped berth allocation system, rewarding repeat customers. There is yet another plan to speed up turnarounds so two ships can be turned within a 24-hour period at the Overseas Passenger Terminal.