Former WIN Sports and Entertainment Centre chief executive Stuart Barnes has a new role that is taking his career full circle.
Mr Barnes sea-change as project manager of #cruisewollongong sees him land in familiar territory. The cruise industry is one he enormous affection for because it has had such a big impact on various parts of his life.
“I ended up coming to Australia working on cruise ships. I worked on P&O’s Sea Princess, Oriana and Canberra in the late 70’s early 80’s. That is how I ended up in Sydney. I met a red-headed dancer who was on the Australian crew. We got married and Annie and I have celebrated 34 years of married life,” he said.
Mr Barnes also has two children who work in the industry for Carnival Cruise Lines in the entertainment and production department.
When Destination Wollongong decided it needed someone to keep an eye on #cruisewollongong and help plan for future visits it did not have to look far for someone who had plenty of knowledge and experience in the industry.
Mr Barnes said his present task is to help Wollongong use what it has learned with the last two visits by Royal Caribbean cruise-liners to come up with a model that can be easily deployed every time a ship comes in. He said the maiden cruise industry voyage by Radiance of the Seas on October 30 followed by Voyager of the Seas on December 27, which would soon be followed by Voyager’s second visit on January 18, were great opportunities to show what Wollongong can do.
He said Wollongong had passed its two try-outs with flying colours and he was hopeful other cruise lines would now seriously look at the city as a destination as well. “If we can get a plan that we can roll out any day of the week then that is the way to go forward”.
Mr Barnes said the willingness of so many to volunteer to become ambassadors was superb and Wollongong’s friendliness was a great selling point. As was having great beaches near the CBD, many tour options and good shopping opportunities.“Even on a day that is theoretically a public holiday (December 27) we were still open and buzzing”.
I ended up coming to Australia working on cruise shipsStuart Barnes
Destination Wollongong chair Tania Brown said it was wonderful to have someone with Mr Barnes experience on board.