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One hundred and three cruise and expedition ships are expected to have visited Darwin by the end of this wet season.

They will carry about 60,000 passengers and crew – and contribute $65 million to the Northern Territory economy.

Importantly, 45,000 of the visitors are arriving in the traditionally quieter tourism months, between October and April.

Luxury cruise ship Celebrity Edge arrived in Darwin in early December, carrying 2809 passengers and 1288 crew on its maiden voyage to Top End waters.

Celebrity Edge offers five-star accommodation with 1467 cabins and suites and is now one of the first “resorts at sea” to receive a recommended rating from Forbes Travel Guide.

Passengers were treated to a Welcome to Country and traditional dancing from Larrakia Nation followed by a warm welcome from the Top End Visitor Information Centre ambassadors.

This is the second Celebrity Cruises ship to arrive in the Top End, following a visit from Celebrity Solstice in November, in what is expected to be the NT’s largest cruise season yet.

Cruise ships provide a welcome boost to Darwin tourism operators, retailers and hospitality businesses with passengers shopping, dining and exploring Darwin and surrounds.

The Northern Territory Cruise Tourism Strategy 2022-2025 provides a roadmap to grow cruise tourism over the next three years.

Minister for Tourism and Hospitality Joel Bowden says: “Cruise tourism is a huge economic contributor to our tourism industry and provides a welcome boost to local tour operators, retailers and the hospitality industry.”