A cruise ship docked at Fort Hill Wharf in Darwin.
A cruise ship docked at Fort Hill Wharf in Darwin.

Cruise ship cancellations further blow to tourism industry

STRUGGLING tourism industry has been dealt a new blow with three cruise ships cancelling scheduled visits planned between now and March 11.

The vessels would have bought close to 6000 tourists to town.

There are also concerns that two more cruise ships, the Amsterdam and the Queen Elizabeth, carrying more than 4000 tourists are rethinking their Darwin stop the following week.

A spokesman for the Port of Darwin said whether the cancellations were a direct result of the international coronavirus emergency has not been given as a reason for the changes.

"We have had lots cancel the original dates and then reschedule for other arrival dates," the spokesman said.

"The Viking Sun which visited at the weekend was an example of that.

"They have changed dates and plans so there is a lot of juggling and rescheduling going on.

"We've had boats like the AIDAvita drop out altogether.

"Cruise ships scheduled for the 6, 8 and 11th of March have all cancelled.

"They don't give us a reason."

The port says while the bad news was that it was expecting more cancellations, it was expecting just as many to reschedule for new dates.

"With more cruise ships not going to Asia they are having to reschedule itineraries around Australia, so this is resulting in date changes," the spokesman said.

Local businesses in Darwin Mall have expressed horror over the loss of the cruise ships and so many potential customers.

Infidelity Clothing store's Kerry Collins said March was prime cruise ship time for her business.

"This time of year, my god … we just don't really need this to happen to us," she said.

"As we all know there is not much happening around Darwin CBD. I've talked to other businesses and they feel the same.

"We've lost a few big girls so it is going to knock the city around. And it's not just the passengers who spend. These boats have large crews and they spend in Darwin as well.

"This is a big impact on us."