The newest addition to Sydney’s fleet arrived through the heads to a super-star welcome of drones, photographers and fireworks.
Emerald Princess – the biggest Princess Cruises’ ship to be based in Sydney, gives the line a capacity of 11,800 berths across five ships – the biggest fleet outside America.
The 3082-passenger ship will be here for six months, making 13 round trips to New Zealand, the South Pacific and Tasmania.
Princes Cruises Vice President Australian and New Zealand Stuart Allison told travel agents and journalists at Curtis Stone’s signature restaurant Share that the line last week had its highest booking day on record.
And he told Cruise Passenger: “Incredibly excited to have this ship here and particularly with this restaurant. Having eaten here in Fremantle and Melbourne, I can assure you people will love it.”
He added: “Australia has been the biggest source market outside the US for a number of years now and 2016 has been a record year. Next year (2017) is looking like it will be even bigger.
“The reason Australians love Princess is because of the variety in our itineraries. We have itineraries of anything from two nights 104 days, so guests can come again and again. More than half our guests have cruised with us before.”
Mr Allison said exploring and recharging were the hallmarks of a Princess Cruise.
And the food offerings meant that passengers could dine at Curtis Stone’s Share restaurant every night – while in Los Angeles, where Stone has just won a major food award, customers have to book three weeks in advance.
As well as a Curtis Stone restaurant, Emerald Princess also features Magic to Do by Tony award winning Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz.
And the ship will be the venue for Voice of the Ocean, which brings the successful TV series The Voice – complete with red judges’ chairs – to life.
Guests who compete in Voice of the Ocean will receive special training from the ship’s theatrical company. The competition is expected to galvanise passengers and uncover hidden talent.
At the end of the day, the ship set off on a 13-night round trip to New Zealand.
Fares for an 11-night cruise to New Caledonia and Vanuatu start from $1199 per person twin-share with $75 of onboard credit. See www.princes.com