Fremantle has been identified as one of the world's cruising hotspots of the future, with passenger growth expected to add more than $30 million to the local economy over the next two years.
Leading cruise line Princess Cruises yesterday launched an expanded service from Fremantle over the next two years - including a full year of cruises in 2015-16 - in a move described by the line's vice-president (Australia and New Zealand) Stuart Allison as recognition of the untapped potential of the WA market.
According to the Cruise Line Industry Association, 833,348 Australians went on a cruise last year - the equivalent of about 3.6 per cent of the population.
But in WA, the participation rate was only 2.7 per cent (67,501 passengers).
"That's why see we so much potential for growth in the WA market," Mr Allison said aboard the 2000-guest superliner Sea Princess in Fremantle yesterday.
"We strongly believe cruising is about to surge in WA.
"Australia's record passenger numbers in 2013 cap off a decade featuring a staggering annual growth rate of 20 per cent.
"Clearly, Australian holidaymakers love cruising and we think that WA is part of the future growth story for the industry."
Princess Cruises has based a ship in Fremantle every winter since 2008 and will expand its presence to 12 months next year, including its first summer season of roundtrip cruises from WA.
The move will more than triple the number of cruise passengers sailing from WA and inject more than $30 million in to the local economy.