Auckland, NZ “The size of some cruise vessels entering the Australian market is becoming too large for our wharf. We cannot meet this challenge due to the high cost of providing new wharf infrastructure,” said Rob Wilkinson, operations manager for the Broome Port Authority.

And thus, new and bigger ships heading to Australia will face ports that don’t have the infrastructure, and some of those ports, don’t quite trust the industry to keep the ships around long enough to pay for shoreside improvements.

Investment from governments and the private sector will need to come to drive infrastructure growth, said Thor Elliott, trade development manager, Fremantle.

"Regional areas are where a considerable amount of dollars needs to be spent, however, there needs to be a rate of return in any capital investment,” he said.

An independent report that came out earlier this year pointed to a total of 1 million Australian cruise passengers by 2020, both in Australia and abroad.

That may be a lofty goal, considering the population of Australia, reported at just over 20 million.

At the Port of Auckland, Wayne Mills said the ability to service ships and the marketing of the destination will encourage future growth.               

“Growth will come from our strong economic position and introduction of new itineraries,” said Elliott. “There has been a dramatic growth in new cruise vessels entering this market, and a significant increase in cruise passengers. Innovative product differentiation strategies and cooperative marketing will be key factors in ensuring the future growth.”

See the full Asian/Australian market report in Cruise Industry News' special Asia issue for the Cruise Shipping Asia-Pacific conference in Singapore Sept. 17 to 18.