Albany will have to wait at least an extra three months before it welcomes its first big cruise into port since March 2020 after the Noordam bypassed the city on December 4. The cruise liner had moved into position to be guided into the Albany port that Sunday morning before the captain decided to abandon a planned six-hour stopover because of unfavourable winds. Noordam is operated by Holland America Line. The company’s public relations director, Erik Elvejord, said the ship was “nearby in a safe location outside the port entrance” before the decision was made to bypass Albany. “Due to significantly high winds, the ship made the decision while en route and approaching the port, based upon the safe navigation of the ship to enter the port through the channel to come alongside,” he said. “(The) safety of our guests and team members is always our top priority.” The liner was almost at its capacity of 1972 passengers and would have been the first ship carrying more than 1000 passengers to dock at the port since WA’s cruise industry was shut down by the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. “Since winds and seas can change quickly, we made every effort to see if the conditions would safely permit the ship to come into port before deciding to proceed to the next call,” Mr Elvejord said. The Noordam’s aborted attempt to dock in Albany came just over a month after a decision was made that the Coral Princess would also not make its planned stop at the port because of rough conditions. The Albany Chamber of Commerce and Industry issued a position statement following the second cancellation that had affected businesses which had “put their necks on the line . . . in order to showcase the region”. “Our southern coast weather conditions are known to be unpredictable, but we can use this information to increase the likelihood of cruise ships docking,” the statement said. “There is an opportunity to open discussions with the big cruise operators and carriers to dock at times when the winds and tides are more likely to be favourable. “This would increase the likelihood of passengers disembarking, and for our tour operators and other small businesses to benefit from the influx of visitors.” The Coral Adventurer and the Coral Geographer, with capacities to carry 120 passengers, each brought visitors to the city in November. Silver Muse became the biggest cruise ship to dock in Albany since March 2020 when it brought it brought nearly 600 passengers to port on Monday. Azamara Quest, which has a passenger capacities of about 700, is scheduled to visit before the end of the year. Regatta has the potential to bring nearly 700 passengers to Albany in early January, before Azamara Quest is set to return in the middle of February. The 2081-passenger Queen Elizabeth is scheduled to make a 10-hour stopover on March 4.