A cruise ship has returned to Kangaroo Island for the first time since fires ravaged the area.
Princess Cruises’ ship Sun Princess sailed to the South Australian island on 18 January with 2,000 passengers, more than 40 of whom were British.
Aerial pictures have circulated social media showing the sheer scale of destruction on the island, including at Southern Ocean Lodge, which will have to be rebuilt.
The passengers went on tours with local operators and visited market stalls on Penneshaw Oval. All the revenue Princess would normally receive from the day’s shore excursions is being donated to the bushfire appeal.
The cruise line, which is part of Carnival Australia, has pledged over £1 million to the cause.
“Our guests are aware this isn’t a normal visit to Kangaroo Island and that their presence helps show respect and solidarity to the local community,” said Sun Princess’s captain Diego Perra.
“We have encouraged our guests to support the tourism operators who have worked so hard to ensure there is a wide selection of experiences from which to choose.
“All of us on Sun Princess are so proud to know that we are helping send a message that Kangaroo Island’s recovery has begun.”
An earlier cruise to Kangaroo Island was diverted to Port Lincoln at the height of the bushfire emergency.
Head of the South Australia state government, premier Steven Marshall, added: “Having the Sun Princess dock with 2,000 passengers is going to inject a substantial economic benefit to the community and also send a strong signal that we are on the road to recovery.”
Sun Princess is currently on a 13-night cruise from Fremantle.
Clients can choose from more than 380 destinations across the globe, explore beyond the beaten track, embrace local cultures, lose themselves in relaxation and be made to feel at home – that’s the Princess Difference.