In an unprecedented move, the Australian cruise season has been extended, with ships like the Sapphire Princess and the Queen Elizabeth sailing in our waters.
As exclusively predicted by Cruise Passenger last week, the move is the result of the coronavirus in Asia, and means thousands more cabins, port calls and itineraries for Aussie cruisers.
Just this week, Cunard and Princess Cruises announced they would be extending the Australian season for an extra 60 days, meaning that this is the best time to snag deals. There are cruises which are priced from as little as $69 per person, per night.
“The extension of Queen Elizabeth’s Australia and New Zealand season is a result of the current uncertainty due to travel restrictions and port closures in Asia and their effect on cruise operations in the region,” said Katrina McAlpine, Commercial Director Cunard Australia and New Zealand.
“In response to the operational uncertainties in Asia, Queen Elizabeth will instead remain in local waters for another 60 days. This extended Australia season will benefit local tourism with 29 visits to ports around the country during her additional 60-day deployment.”
Like Cunard, Princess Cruises also revealed it would be basing the Sapphire Princess in Australia and moving the ship away from Singapore and China.
“With the ongoing uncertainty of travel restrictions and port closures in Asia impacting our cruise operations in the region, we hope that this extended deployment in Australia will benefit local tourism, particularly in regional areas with 102 visits to regional ports around country during her year-long deployment,” said Stuart Allison, Princess Cruises Senior Vice President in the Asia Pacific.
Joel Katz, Managing Director Australasia, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) welcomed the season extension.
“These new itineraries are great news, especially at a time when the tourism industry is focussed on recovery. The extra deployments cruise lines have announced in Australia will boost visitation and provide new economic opportunities for destinations around the country.
“This is especially welcome in many of our regional communities impacted by the summer bushfires, so it’s great to see destinations like Eden and Kangaroo Island included in some of these new cruises. It’s also good news for cruise travellers, who now have greater choice and new options in this region.
“Importantly, cruise lines have put in place important procedures to ensure that the health and safety of passengers and crew remains the top priority, including enhanced screening measures prior to boarding. Together with the increased ability to cruise within our own region, this will help give reassurance to travellers.“
“In light of the ongoing Coronavirus issues in China, Royal Caribbean has announced it will moveSpectrum of the Seas to Australia as a gesture to thank the humanitarian efforts put forth to combat the wildfires”, says the Royal Caribbean fans’ blog, an unofficial site run out of the US.“Spectrum of the Seas will travel to Australia and be deployed on complimentary cruises sailing from Sydney in support of Australia’s first responder community, who worked tirelessly over many weeks of the bush fire crisis.”
Further details are yet to be announced.
Further afield, the Norwegian Spirit, which was bound for Asian ports after her refurbishment, has been redeployed to the Mediterranean. Cruiseco have fly, cruise, stay packages aboard the Norwegian Spirit.
Starting from $4,560 per person, twin share, the package includes return flights, a 12-night cruise, a two-night stay in Rome as well as a two-night stay in London, free beverage package, shore excursion credits, specialty dining package, free WiFi as well as US$200 onboard credit.
Cruise Passenger has found some of the best deals available:
$76 per person, per night
There is 17-night itinerary from Sydney to Perth aboard the Sapphire Princess visiting destinations such as Geraldton and Cairns. Departing Perth on 8 June 2020 fares start from $1,299 per person twin share.
Princess have a 10-night Coral Coast voyage sailing from Perth aboard the Sapphire Princess, visiting West Australia’s coastal destinations such as Broome, Geraldton and Exmouth. Departing May 12, 2020, fares start from $699 per person twin share.
Cruise1st are offering 19-night itinerary round trip from Sydney to Honolulu in Hawaii. The package includes flights, hotel stays and a cruise. The Celebrity Solstice departs Sydney on 16 April 2020 and visits destinations in New Zealand like the Bay of Islands. She then sails towards French Polynesia. The ship then heads to Maui and Honolulu in Hawaii. The package is priced from $2,699 per person twin share.
Sailing from Sydney and calling at a number of iconic Australian ports, the Queen Elizabeth will be sailing on a 27-night cruise from Sydney. She will visit places like Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, Fremantle, Busselton, Kangaroo Island and more. The cruise departs on 12 April 2020 and is priced from $1,799 per person, twin share.
On offer is a 13-night fly, stay and cruise package aboard the Queen Elizabeth. Departing from Sydney on 11 June 2020, fly from Sydney to Vancouver where you will spend a night in the Canadian city. The cruise starts on 12 June 2020 and sails Alaska’s Inside Passage. Port calls include Skagway, Sitka, Juneau and more. The cruise is priced at $2,999 per person, twin share.
With the Norwegian Spirit homeported in the Mediterranean, Cruiseco has a Greek Islands 10-night stay and cruise package. The seven-night cruise from Athens visits Rhodes, Kusadasi, Istanbul, Mykonos and Santorini Island. The package includes two-nights pre cruise stay as well as one-night post cruise stay. The cruise is priced from $1,320 per person, twin share.
Cruiseco have a South Pacific crossing voyage which includes a 19-night fly, cruise and stay package from Sydney to Honolulu. Departing 16 April 2020, the Noordam cruises to Noumea, Ile Des Pins, several ports in Fiji before heading to American Samoa. The voyage includes several days at sea before reaching Hawaii. The package includes three-night post cruise stay as well as flights. The package is priced from $2,825 per person, per night.