Australia is embarking on its biggest ever summer cruise season, with a record flotilla of cruise ships sailing Down Under over the coming months, including many newcomers.
According to cruise industry body Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia, 38 ships from its member cruise lines will sail in Australian waters this summer, with eight ships making their maiden visits to Australia. Over the 2014-15 summer cruise period, 36 CLIA member cruise ships visited Australia, including three ships making their inaugural visit.
“Cruise lines around the world are looking for new destinations and new homeports for their ships – and Australia is hot property right now,” CLIA Australasia Commercial Director Brett Jardine said.
The peak summer cruise season in Australia runs from the end of September through to April 30, 2016.
The cruise season will kick off with the arrival of Princess Cruises’ Diamond Princess in Sydney on Thursday September 29, with the ship based in Sydney for a season of 14 cruises over summer.
Other ships making their Australian debut during the season include Costa Cruises’ Costa Luminosa, Holland America Line’s Noordam, P&O Cruises’ Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden, Ponant’s Le Soleal, Princess Cruises’ Golden Princess and Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas.
Jardine said that 21 ships would make a total of 330 roundtrip cruises from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Fremantle over the 2015-16 summer, with these cruises expected to generate more than $300 million for the economy through passenger and crew spending, provedoring and associated port charges. The visits are a significant increase on last year’s 253 roundtrip cruises.
Highlights of the upcoming cruise season include P&O Cruises’ five-ship spectacular in Sydney on November 25, the deployment of Princess Cruises’ Golden Princess to Melbourne where it will take the mantle as the largest ship ever to be based in Victoria and Royal Caribbean’s first Brisbane season with Legend of the Seas sailing from the Queensland capital.