Cruise ships to Dampier

Shannon BeattiePilbara News
APT's MS Caledonian Sky will dock at the Port of Dampier twice in 2020.
Camera IconAPT's MS Caledonian Sky will dock at the Port of Dampier twice in 2020. Credit: Graham Werner

The Pilbara cruising industry is set to be bolstered next year when the Port of Dampier welcomes a cruise liner for the first time.

This comes as Port Hedland prepares for a passenger vessel to dock into the town after a two-year hiatus, setting 2020 up to be the strongest cruise season for the region.

Dampier, about 20km from Karratha, will host two small cruise ships from luxury company APT in September next year as they make a return trip from Broome to Perth. The MS Caledonian Sky has a guest capacity of 106, a of crew 75 and the cruises start at $11,295 per person for 10 days.

Pilbara Tourism Association chairman Barry Harrison said APT reached out when they got wind of the world heritage nomination for Murujuga National Park.

“The world-class rock art is a great asset for us and we need to promote that even more,” he said.

“We’re working with Murujuga Aboriginal Corporation for passengers to tour the park, plus there will be helicopter and resources tours, as well as the opportunity to visit Cossack and shop and dine in Karratha.”

An APT spokeswoman said over the past few years they’ve had a surge in popularity among guests wishing to see more of Australia’s West Coast from the sea.

“APT’s Kimberley cruising program has been a great success so the next obvious step was to showcase the Pilbara from this different perspective,” she said.

“A key highlight of these cruises will be the scenic helicopter flight over the Dampier Archipelago.”

Securing the cruise ships’ visit has been a joint effort with Tourism WA, the Pilbara Development Commission, Pilbara Ports Authority and the City of Karratha.

The PPA has reduced fees for smaller vessels to encourage visits to Dampier and will be working with Tourism WA to host a familiarisation tour of the Port of Dampier and Karratha for cruise line executives and destination handlers.

APT is hopeful this will be just the beginning of their venture into the Dampier region.

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