Giant cruise ship Norwegian Star is still definitely coming to Wollongong on February 23

SHIP AHOY: Norwegian Star in Port Melbourne on Sunday for repair work on her engine that will still allow her to visit Port Kembla on February 23. Picture: Daniel Pockett

SHIP AHOY: Norwegian Star in Port Melbourne on Sunday for repair work on her engine that will still allow her to visit Port Kembla on February 23. Picture: Daniel Pockett

The giant Norwegian Star is definitely coming to Wollongong with 2400 passengers on February 23. Norwegian Cruise Line’s senior vice president and Asia Pacific managing director Steve O’Dell said the ship is still charting a course for Port Kembla after urgent engine repairs in Melbourne. “Norwegian Cruise Lines is delighted to be visiting..the Illawarra and its breadth of attractions and natural wonders.”

But the cruise line boss thinks there is something else very appealing about Wollongong. “There are two key elements which make up a great port visit. One is how much the destination can offer visitors (experientially) and the other is the warmth of welcome extended to guests by the local community. Port Kembla always delivers over and above on both fronts, and we look forward to giving passengers the opportunity to discover the delights of the region for themselves”.

Cruise ready: #cruisewollongong's Colin Bloomfield, Mark Sleigh, Tania Brown and Cr Leigh Colacino are all working hard to make Norwegian Cruise Line's fist visit a warm, welcoming and memorable one. Picture: Greg Ellis.

Cruise ready: #cruisewollongong's Colin Bloomfield, Mark Sleigh, Tania Brown and Cr Leigh Colacino are all working hard to make Norwegian Cruise Line's fist visit a warm, welcoming and memorable one. Picture: Greg Ellis.

Cr Leigh Colacino, who led the crusie ship campaign, is excited such a response came from very top of another international cruise line.

"It is very gratifying that now the issues Norwegian Star recently suffered, Norwegian Cruise Lines is still sending their magnificent ship to Port Kembla. It clearly shows that Wollongong is recognised as a cruise destination in its own right. Wollongong and the region are now considered a must visit area of NSW. The volunteers, residents and businesses of Wollongong should feel extremely proud that the welcome they showed to the passengers and crew during those first three visits were a huge success. Well done Wollongong."

Destination Wollongong general manager Mark Sleigh said Mr O’Dell’s comments show a second cruise line is really interested in the region as a cruise destination. And the #cruisewollongong team can now proceed with plans to make more than 3200 passengers and crew from around the world feel really welcome.

Mr Sleigh is now looking forward to hearing what future plans Norwegian Cruise Lines and Royal Caribbean have for Port Kembla and Wollongong in addition to two more cruise ship visits already announced by Royal Caribbean.