The 4th-biggest cruise ship in the world, Ovation of the Seas, docked at Port Adelaide Passenger Terminal at 7:00 a.m. Sunday, bringing almost 6000 passengers and crew. That’s a population bigger than Nuriootpa, Naracoorte, Roxby Downs or Strathalbyn.
The 18-deck, 168,666 gross tonnage (internal volume, not weight) ship with 18 dining options is as wide as 17 Adelaide trams and, if stood upright, would be more than two-and-a-half times as high as the Westpac building.
Groundbreaking facilities include the FlowRider surf simulator, iFly skydiving experience, bumper cars, robotic barmen and the North Star viewing capsule rising more than 90m above sea level.
Royal Caribbean managing director, Australia & New Zealand, Adam Armstrong said the ship will be by far the largest to home-port in Australia.
“Ovation of the Seas is an absolute game changer for cruising Down Under,” he said.
“Over the last decade, we have committed to bringing the biggest and best cruise ships to our doorstep – and this is the climax of that story.
“This occasion marks the first time that a cruise line has ever based a brand new ship in this market.”
Premier Jay Weatherill said the visit comes in a record season for the visitor economy, now worth about $5.95 billion.
“It’s been a big year for tourism in South Australia and this is showing no signs of slowing down,” Mr Weatherill said.
“The first direct flight from Qatar Airlines touched down in Adelaide in May and next week we welcome the first direct flight from China Southern Airlines.
“This is on the back of Adelaide recently winning the bid to host the world’s largest aviation trade conference, World Routes 2019, and follows internationally-renowned travel company Lonely Planet naming South Australia as one of the top five must-see regions in the world for 2017.”
Chief executive of Phil Hoffmann Travel, Peter Williams, said the ship’s call is a major coup for the local tourism industry.
“Cruising is the fastest-growing travel segment in Australia and, with South Australians among the most enthusiastic travellers, it’s no surprise we’re seeing the best ships in the world choose to come here,” he said.
The ship sailed for Hobart at 4:00 p.m., leaving a trail of dollars in its wake – Royal Caribbean say her visit to Adelaide is expected to inject more $1.3 million in passenger spending.
Flinders Ports officials say good spectator spots to see the ship include Lady Ruthven Reserve and the Semaphore foreshore.