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Australian ports are gearing up for a record-breaking summer cruise season, with more than 600 ship visits scheduled.

Between October 2014 and April 2015, 36 ships will cruise into Australian waters, making 642 port visits. That’s 54 more visits than last year.

Eighteen of the ships will make 253 roundtrip cruises from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Fremantle. An increase of 51.

The newly refurbished and second Carnival ship to be based out of Australia, Carnival Legend will kick things off when she debuts in Sydney on 22 September.

Carnival has promised it will be a show-shopping affair, with a performance from Cody Simpson and the Australian Girls Choir in front of the ship’s iconic funnel.

Legend won’t be the only ship making her maiden voyage Down Under. Compagnie du Ponant’s L’Austral will be the first of the line’s ships to visit when she arrives on 24 December.

MSC has its first ship arriving in Australia, when MSC Orchestra visits in March during a 33-night cruise from Dubai. She will make her inaugural calls at Cairns, Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle.

And don’t forget Celebrity Century, which will make its inaugural visit to Australia in October. It’ll be her first and only season Down Under before she retires from the Celebrity Cruises fleet in April next year.

Century will join Celebrity Solstice out of Sydney and will sail on Australia and South Pacific itineraries.

Across the country, there will be also 38 maiden port calls to cities and regional towns including Busselton, Eden, Esperance, Albany, Port Hedland and Geelong.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia general manager Brett Jardine said new destinations and new ships means Australians will have more choice this season.

“So many maiden visits, particularly in regional towns, means that more holidaymakers are being introduced to more parts of Australia, which is great news for local communities,” he said.

Coming to Australia – meet the new ships

CARNIVAL LEGEND

Arriving: September 2014
Home port: Sydney
Destinations: Australia and South Pacific

Carnival Legend JPG

Everything will be “Aussie, Aussie Aussie” on board Carnival Legend when she joins her sister ship Carnival Spirit Down Under. Her arrival in September, fresh from a $20 million “Aussification” makeover, marks the Legend’s first foray into Australia.

Guests on the 2,124-passenger vessel will keep fit with exercise programs offered by Australia’s Biggest Loser trainer Shannan Ponton; enjoy fresh prawns, mussels and fish ’n’ chips at the new Freshie’s Corner snack bar; and drink a Carnival exclusive Australian craft beer, Thirsty Frog Summer Ale.

Across 12 passenger decks, the family-friendly ship will be a crowd pleaser, with 16 lounges and bars; a mix ’n’ match lolly shop; and Carnival Waterworks splash zone featuring Green Thunder, the steepest and fastest waterslide at sea.

Carnival Legend’s Nouveau Restaurant has a new “Long Lunch at Sea” option with the emphasis on seafood, when guests can sit down to three courses, including lobster, for only $30. And then there’s the ship’s Bonsai Sushi restaurant for all your Japanese favourites including California and spicy tuna rolls.

CELEBRITY CENTURY

Arriving: October 2014
Home port: Sydney
Destinations: Australia and South Pacific

Celebrity Century JPG

Celebrity Century may be the line’s oldest ship, butshe still has the flair and style of a new vessel.

Joining Celebrity Solstice out of Sydney, it will be her first and only season in Australia.

Smaller than other Celebrity vessels, Century is a more intimate ship, carrying only 1,814-passengers. Despite her size, she offers almost all the same facilities as her larger peers.

Public spaces include the Martini Bar & Crush with an ice-topped bar; the Rendezvous Lounge; and the line’s signature Michael’s Club for reading and socialising.

Guests can keep active on the basketball court, stay entertained in Fortunes Casino or head to the Canyon Ranch SpaClub for a massage before dinner.

Century doesn’t fall short when it comes to food and dining, with the fleet’s signature French restaurant Murano serving specialty dishes including smoked salmon and peekytoe crab parfait; Muscovy duck breast and Grand Marnier soufflé.