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The cruise ship industry in the Whitsundays has been growing steadily, with more ships docking in Airlie Beach and on Hamilton Island every year. The beautiful Whitsundays has a range of shore excursions on offer covering all the iconic experiences of a Whitsunday holiday - from trips to the Great Barrier Reef to go snorkelling or diving, to visits to the world-famous Whitehaven Beach, to scenic flights over the islands.

On the coast, passengers can experience a number of historical or food-based day trips, or spend the day meandering around the main street of Airlie Beach, visiting the lagoon, picking up some souvenirs at the markets (which pop up every time a cruise ship is in port), and doing a spot of shopping.

Cruise ship passengers constantly rate Airlie Beach as one of their favourite ports, thanks to the stunning destination and the outstanding work put in by the Volunteer Cruise Ship Ambassadors

See here for the latest Cruise ship Timetable.

Airlie Beach Markets
When the Cruise Ships are in, the Airlie Beach Markets are on! If you would like to hold a market stall at the Airlie Beach Markets in conjunction with the Cruise Ships, please contact Airlie Beach Lions Club on 0409 273 047.

Cruise Passengers in YOUR Community
There is a great opportunity for the local community to get involved with the cruise industry and benefit from the passengers and cruise ship staff that disembark in Airlie Beach. There can be as many as up to four cruise ships per month in Airlie Beach, here are some things to consider that may help increase your business on cruise ship day:

  • Cruise passengers are coming, how are you going to become irresistible to them?
  • Register for cruise ship alerts with This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Educate your staff on the cruise industry and help them achieve best results for you.
  • Advertise offers specially for cruise passengers of the particular ship in port. Make it personal!
  • Package your product with another product or experience.
  • Most importantly, band together for a bigger and better outcome for yourself and the region!

If you have a tour or regular product that you think could be part of the Shorex on-board the cruise ships, Tourism Whitsundays can assist members to make the right connections with the Inbound Tour Operators (ITOs).

What determines if a cruise ship will come to Airlie Beach?
Cruise companies will consider a number of factors when selecting a port of call for an itinerary, including:

  • Cruising distance between ports
  • Port infrastructure
  • Facilities and charges
  • Security arrangements
  • Political stability
  • Reprovision services
  • Community appetite
  • Revenue potential of shore excursions offered on-board
  • Passenger appeal
  • Airlift ability
  • Population in the region

Port Ratings and how they help determine itineraries:
After each cruise, passengers fill out surveys on their journey and experiences. Port scores are ratings out of 100 - ports which consistently achieve over 90 are likely to be included in as many itineraries as practical. Factors key to creating positive impression for cruise passengers include:

  • Coordinated welcome and controlled passenger movement
  • Orderly, insured and regulated transport facilities
  • Safe, friendly atmosphere
  • Quality amenities and services
  • Well maintained attractions and public areas

 For more information on how you can get involved in the Cruiseship Industry, please contact Tourism Whitsundays' This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.