When megaliner Ovation of the Seas made its Australian debut in Fremantle on Tuesday 6 December, the Fremantle Passenger Terminal handled the passenger equivalent of about 15 jumbo jets in nine hours.
The Passenger Terminal handled a record 7544 passengers plus all of the cars, taxis, buses and associated events in a huge logistical exercise that has earned complimentary feedback from the cruise ship company, Royal Carribean International.
The majority of passengers left the ship at Fremantle, some transited (arrived on the ship and left on the ship) and another large group of passengers joined the ship at Fremantle on Tuesday and spent a night on the ship in port.
This was a record for the Passenger Terminal for the number of passengers processed from a single ship in one day. The previous record was set in November 2015 when 6789 passengers were managed for Explorer of the Seas.
All disembarking and embarking passengers are required (with their luggage) to pass through Customs, quarantine and security checks in the Passenger Terminal.
The terminal's car park was able to handle the large number of taxis, private cars and tourist coaches arriving and departing during the day.
Some statistics from Tuesday 6 December:
• Total passengers onboard at arrival: 4572 (about equal to 9 jumbo jets)
◦ Disembarked passengers: 3328
◦ Transit passengers: 1244
• Passengers embarking (joining the ship at Fremantle): 2972 (another 6 jumbo jets)
• Total passengers on sailing: 4216
• First passengers disembarked at 8.15am; last passengers embarked at 5.15pm
• Ship's crew: 1606 crew on arrival and 1597 crew on departure
• Most of the disembarking and embarking passengers arrived at the terminal by taxi or private vehicles; many of the transit passengers went on coach tours which left from the terminal.
• Entertainment at the terminal on the ship's arrival: WA Youth Jazz Orchestra, the Perth Pipe Band, the Royal Agricultural Society Brass Band, CVC Circus Troupe, Southern Cross Trio and Gum Nut Stompers Jazz Quartet (WASAMBA drummers were on Victoria Quay near B Shed)
• Other people in the terminal: Australian Border Force (Customs), security, travel agents, media, caterers, cleaning staff
Cruise shipping company Royal Carribean International has commented positively on the spaciousness of the Fremantle Passenger Terminal.
Although built between 1960-62 in an era when passenger ships were so much smaller, it does have the very large concourse areas required when many thousands of passengers are embarking and disembarking from very large cruise ships in a single day. This is not necessarily the case in other cruise shipping ports in Australia and internationally.
The building is heritage listed, but Fremantle Ports has spent upwards of $2 million in recent years in restoration and upgrading of the structure and facilities.