Season 2016/17 will set and break records across the Australian cruising landscape, as 41 different ships – eight of which making their maiden visits – will spend time in local waters between October 1, 2016 and April 30, 2017.
Launching the season to come, the 41 ships – an increase of three from last year – will sail on over 400 separate round-trip itineraries and make over 900 calls to ports around Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and on longer itineraries to Asia and North America. This is up more than 90 from the number of ports visited last season. Together, the industry will provide for $3.6 billion in economic benefits for cities and towns across Australia.
Capital city and regional ports around Australia will be welcoming five cruise lines for the first time. More than 70 scheduled calls will be the first for a particular line in a port.
The season will kick off officially this Saturday when Australia’s first ‘National Plan A Cruise Month’ promotion begins, which will see specialist travel agencies around the country loaded up with dozens of special deals not available elsewhere – READ MORE about these here.
Among the international ships arriving for the season, the first will be Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Solstice, sailing in on 08 October from its Trans-Pacific relocation cruise from Hawaii. Following close behind will be the first ship making its first visit to Australia in Holland America Line’s MS Maasdam, arriving less than two weeks later on 20 October.
The six-month Australian season will be loaded with headline arrivals, which will include:
- The arrival of Princess Cruises’ largest ever ship to call Australia home – Emerald Princess.
- Australia’s first visit by a Norwegian Cruise Line ship in 15 years – Norwegian Star.
- A return to local waters by Azamara Club Cruises with its second ship Azamara Journey.
- Seabourn Encore – which only weeks before its arrival will be christened in Singapore.
- Another new ship from Oceania Cruises, with the maiden visit of its newest ship Sirena.
- A Royal Rendezvous which sees Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 meet Queen Elizabeth in Sydney.
- Royal Caribbean’s maiden call to Port Kembla on 30 October, by Radiance of the Seas.
- The first round-trip cruise to South America by Princess Cruises’ vessel Sea Princess.
- And of course, the maiden visit of Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas on 15 December.
Other international lines making visits to Australia will include Crystal Cruises (Crystal Symphony), Costa Cruises (Costa Luminosa), Fred Olsen Cruise Line (Black Watch), Ponant (L’Austral), Hapag-Lloyd Cruises (Europa & Europa 2), Oceania Cruises (Insignia), Regent Seven Seas Cruises (Seven Seas Voyager & Seven Seas Navigator), Silversea Cruises (Silver Whisper & Silver Discoverer) and P&O Cruises UK (Arcadia & Aurora).
“Anyone wanting evidence of the continuing rapid growth of the cruise industry in Australia just needs to look at the horizon this summer – there is going to be a constant procession of ships visiting our ports, carrying hundreds of thousands of Australians and international tourists on great value and relaxing holidays,” Cruise Lines International Association commercial director Brett Jardine commented.