Australia Sails into Thrilling Summer Cruise Season

The Seabourn Sojourn at SydneyFrom a few of the world’s largest and newest ships to a flotilla of the most luxurious vessels at sea and a smorgasbord of onboard offerings, Australia is sailing into one of its most exciting summer cruise seasons, according to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia.

The bumper cruise season kicked off on Saturday (September 15) with the arrival of the first international ship of the 2018/19 season – Princess Cruises’ Majestic Princess. During its six month season of cruises from Sydney, the 3650-passenger ship will thrill guests with an adults-only Hollywood Pool Club, private karaoke rooms and a glass walkway that extends over the ocean.

Launched in 2017, Majestic Princess is Princess Cruises’ newest ship and its largest to cruise down under, and will bring the cruise line’s total Australian-based ships to four this summer with Sun Princess, Sea Princess and Golden Princess cruising out of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Fremantle and Auckland. Pacific Princess will also call at Sydney, Cairns and Darwin in February as part of its world cruise.

Creating some excitement for expedition cruisers, Ponant’s brand new small ship Le Laperouse will make its maiden visit to Australia in early 2019, offering a season of cruises in the Kimberley. The 184-passenger ship debuted earlier this year and boasts an underwater bar with marine viewing opportunities, Michelin-starred French fine dining and a stunning infinity pool.

MSC’s 3223-passenger Magnifica will also call at Sydney for the first time in January, bringing some Italian glitz down under.

The largest ship to call Australia home, Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas, returns to Australia in late November for its longest season yet, sailing from Sydney until late March.

Meanwhile Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth will make history when it offers its first Australian season of cruises from Sydney and Melbourne in February and March 2019, marking the longest deployment of a Cunard ship down under. Queen Elizabeth will briefly be joined by sister ship Queen Victoria in February.

Luxury aficionados will be spoilt for choice with Seabourn’s Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Encore, Crystal Cruises’ Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony, Regent Seven Seas and Silversea’s Silver Whisper and Silver Muse all visiting Australia in the coming months.

CLIA Australasia & Asia Managing Director Joel Katz said cruise-lovers were in for a treat this summer.

“Australians can look forward to a parade of brand new ships as well as some beloved favourites this summer. From head-turners such as Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth and Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas, to newcomers’ Majestic Princess, and Le Laperouse, Australia’s coastline will be abuzz with the world’s most exciting cruise ships all summer. With a total of four ships making their maiden visit down under, including two of the newest ships at sea, there’s no doubt that Australia has the attention of the world’s leading cruise lines and has stamped its place on the global cruise map,” Mr Katz said.

“What’s particularly exciting this summer is the range of ships headed our way. Australian holidaymakers will be able to cruise from their doorstep on all manner of ships including ultra-luxury, expedition and mega-ships, while also enjoying some never-before-seen onboard features, such as an underwater bar, which we expect will entice a whole new generation of cruisers onboard.”

In addition to the international visitors, local ships will continue to offer a variety of sailings around the country with P&O Cruises’ Pacific Jewel, Pacific Dawn and Pacific Aria offering the cruise line’s first three-ship deployment in Brisbane, while Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Legend will sail on a record nine cruises from Melbourne in January and February.

Ensuring ports right around Australia receive the economic benefits of cruise tourism, Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth will make her maiden call to Burnie in Tasmania on February 18, P&O will offer its biggest ever Adelaide program from January to March, and Holland America’s Amsterdam, Noordam and Maasdam will make seven maiden Australian calls this season including Norfolk Island, Bunbury, Broome, Kuri Bay, Gladstone, Airlie Beach and Newcastle.

While Sydney remains the cruising gateway to Australia with 45 ships making 285 visits to the Harbour City this summer, regional New South Wales towns will also reap the rewards of cruise tourism with the Sapphire Coast set to welcome 15 ships, Newcastle looking forward to hosting 10 ships, which is twice as many as last season, and Port Kembla set to receive two ship visits after welcoming its first cruise ship last summer.

“With a plethora of ships homeporting and transiting through a record number of Australian ports this summer, cruising provides far-reaching economic benefits around the whole coastline. Cruise operators require a massive ‘shopping list’ of food, beverage and other supplies when they sail local waters, and the cruise passenger dollar flows right across the spectrum from hotels, restaurants and cafes to tourist attractions and transport. Wherever the ships go, economic opportunity follows.”

According to CLIA Australasia statistics, more than 1.34 million Australians cruised in 2017, and the cruise industry makes a multi-billion dollar annual economic contribution in Australia.

(CLIA Australasia)