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27/10/2023 10:41 AM

Port Authority of NSW welcomed Mickey and Minnie Mouse to Sydney this morning (27 October) as Disney Wonder sailed into Australian waters for the very first time.

Port Authority CEO Captain Philip Holliday said just days after the NSW summer cruise season commenced, the arrival of such an iconic International Cruise line speaks to the
significant growth the industry will attract in the coming years.

“We know New South Wales is the best place on the planet, and the arrival of Disney Wonder to our shores will bring thousands more cruise passengers further strengthening an industry that
brings enormous economic benefit to the hospitality, tourism, and retail sectors across NSW,” Mr Holliday said.

“To celebrate Disney Wonder’s first ever visit to Australia a special plaque and keys ceremony will be held onboard whereby a plaque was exchanged to wish her all the best on her forward journey.

“It is wonderful to see Port Authority of NSW continuing to uphold this great maritime tradition dating back to the 1300s by presenting maiden voyaging ships arriving into our ports with a commemorative "plaque and keys" ceremony to mark their first visit.”

The plaque and key ceremony is believed to have its roots in the medieval history of Southampton, when visiting ships bringing business to the city were given the keys to the city walls.

NSW Minister for Transport, Jo Haylen said Disney’s first cruise into Sydney Harbour has opened up a whole new world for tourists and businesses across the city.

“I can’t wait to hear the famous Disney-themed horn sound as it enters Circular Quay,” Ms Haylen said.

Captain Philip Holliday added there is so much nostalgia around Disney and fans of all ages won’t need convincing to sail given how impressive Disney Wonder is there really is something for everyone onboard.

“Already Disney Wonder is set to return for next season and looking ahead into the 2024/25 schedule we are seeing steady growth which is fantastic, and the diversity of cruise lines scheduled to visit continues to expand,” Mr Holliday said.

The cruise industry generated a record $5.63 billion for the national economy in the 2022/23 financial year, supporting over 18,225 jobs around the country. 

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