Overcrowding at Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal has forced Carnival Cruise Line to look elsewhere for continued growth in Australia, with Carnival Legend booked in to begin a number of sailings from Melbourne in early 2018.

The bookings mean that Victorian guests cruising during this period will not need to travel to Sydney to join a Carnival ship. According to the port’s official website, the ship is booked in for turn-arounds (the term referring to when a cruise ship ends one voyage and begins another) from 06 February 2018 in the latter half of the 2017/18 peak Australian season.

Five additional bookings are in place on 17 February, 21 February, 03 March, 06 March and 20 March, indicating the ship’s stay will be short. Itineraries available from Melbourne will include three-night short breaks at sea (priced from $549 per person), a four-night cruise to Tasmania (priced from $699pp), a 10-night voyage to the South Pacific islands and two separate journeys of 10 and 11 nights respectively to New Zealand (starting from $1,499 per person twin share) which will alternate between the nation’s North and South Islands.

Carnival’s move to look outside Sydney for a second base follows a similar move by its direct competitor Royal Caribbean, which announced last year it was evaluating Port Kembla on the South Coast of NSW as a potential supplementary turn-around port to Sydney for its medium to long-term future in this part of the world.

In a statement to Cruise Advice at the time, Carnival Cruise Line said the decision to book Carnival Legend to embark passengers from Melbourne was largely a precautionary one.

“Given ongoing capacity constraints in Sydney we are being prudent by holding bookings in a number of ports,” the line told us when this story originally appeared.

The first few months of each year are particularly busy for Sydney Harbour as ships which are normally spend most of their time overseas make individual stops in the NSW capital during their annual round-the-world voyages. These include ships from Cunard, Seabourn, Azamara Club Cruises, P&O Cruises UK, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines among many others.