Carnival Legend cruise ship sails into new home port in Melbourne

Cruise giant arrives in new Melbourne home

Watch the sunrise on the 2600-passenger Carnival Legend as it arrives in its new home port of Melbourne. Carnival Cruises

One of the few cruise ships to use Melbourne as a home port, Carnival Legend, arrived at Port Melbourne on Wednesday at sunrise.

The decision to base the 2600-passenger ship in the Victorian capital is long overdue and the result of unprecedented demand, Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy says.

"Since launching in 2012, over 117,000 Victorians have sailed with Carnival Cruise Line," she says.

The cruise line is anticipating a record season, with 16 sailings planned over 2018-2019.

The move comes as Sydney struggles to cope with the number of visiting ships during the summer cruising season.

A Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia report late last year found NSW accounted for 58 per cent of the cruise industry's $5.3 billion contribution to the national economy, but its share had dropped 10 per cent over the past two years due to Sydney reaching capacity for ships.

As a result, Victoria had experienced a 12 per cent increase to take a 7 per cent share of the national contribution.

"Australia is one of the world's most appealing cruise destinations for global cruise lines but Sydney is a big drawcard and if Sydney is full, this discourages more cruise ships from heading to our shores," managing director of CLIA Australasia Joel Katz says.

Carnival is planning a $57-million upgrade for the Legend in May, which will refurbish the bars, eateries and attractions. These include Alchemy Bar, which features cocktails made by master mixologists, the Mexican-inspired BlueIguana Cantina and Tequila Bar, and Guys Burger Joint curated by Californian restaurateur and Food Network TV personality Guy Fieri.

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The most exciting part for Melburnians? Upgraded espresso machines. "I understand Victorians love good coffee," Duffy says. "So we've started there and upgraded our espresso machines on board, ahead of Carnival Legend's arrival into Melbourne, ensuring guests can get their morning caffeine fix."

The new features will accompany the 45 attractions and activities already available, including Green Thunder – the fastest and steepest waterslide at sea (for the kids) – and a child-free Serenity Retreat (for adults).

Carnival Legend arrived at Station Pier in Port Melbourne at 6am on Wednesday. The ship is off to New Caledonia, with stops in Noumea, Mare, Lifou Isle and the Isle of Pines. Melbourne will be its home port  until March, and it returns for the 2018-19 season in November.

See also: Megaships: The new cruise giants launching this year

See also: 25 insider tips about cruise ships

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