In order to accommodate a boom in cruising, Sydney is opening its Garden Island naval base to large cruise ships.
The industry’s largest cruise ships cannot access the Overseas Passenger Terminal because they cannot clear the Sydney Harbor Bridge. Garden Island is east of the bridge, on Woolloomooloo Bay.
Cunard’s Queen Mary 2, the Celebrity Millennium and Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas have received permission to dock at Garden Island.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard said that that opening Garden Island to cruise ships would benefit Sydney tourism and the economy. Her decision, however, was opposed by Australia’s Defence Department.
According to reports, a review by former Defence Department secretary Allan Hawke released in March found that sharing Garden Island with cruise ships was “essentially incompatible” with the navy’s needs.