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Princess Cruises Majestic Princess sailed into Sydney Harbour today – and promptly kick-started the line’s biggest cruise season yet.

The President of Carnival Australia, Sture Myrmell, predicted a “fantastic season” for the largest cruise operator in the country.

Standing by the waters of the vessel’s Hollywood Pool Club while mixologist Rob Floyd worked his magic at the bar, Mr Myrmell maintained: “It’s going to be exciting and its going to be big!”

What’s in store?

“We’re going to have 19 ships sailing in Australian waters over the next few months, we’re going to make 625 calls to 34 different ports around Australia.”

Carnival ships and their passengers will pump almost half a billion dollars into regional ports, producers and tourism operators, he said.

And, despite Sydney’s capacity problems, he anticipated growth resuming next year and the year after, when Carnival would have new and larger vessels in its fleet.

The 3084-passenger Ruby Princess, arriving on October 23, will be followed in December by the 3020-guest Carnival Splendor.

“New cruisers are coming into the market and it’s growing across the spectrum: families, couples, multigenerational groups, people going away from the weekend. There’s such a depth of product.”

Mr Myrmell also pointed out the how cruising had now spread to regional ports.  A decade ago, Carnival Australia had 405 port calls in the summer season – this year, the 625 visits was an increase of 54 per cent.

Stuart Allison, VP Asia Pacific Princess Cruises, Capt Craig Street of the Majestic Princess and Carnival Australia's Sture Myrmell

Stuart Allison, VP Asia Pacific Princess Cruises, Capt Craig Street of the Majestic Princess and Carnival Australia’s Sture Myrmell

His views were echoed by Princess Cruises Vice President in charge of Asia Pacific Stuart Allison.

“Not only do we have two of the four largest and newest ships in our global fleet based here in Sydney this summer – Majestic Princess and Ruby Princess – but we also have other ships in Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Fremantle. There is more choice than ever.”

Mr Allison revealed Australia holds the record for the highest number of repeat cruisers anywhere Princess sails, making it important that the line works hard on new itineraries and experiences.

Majestic Princess will be sailing out of Sydney to Queensland for the first time, visiting the Whitsundays, Airlie Beach, and Yorkeys Knob and Port Douglas.

Next month, Ruby Princess will arrive ad also sail to Queensland.

“But of course, the core of our program over the summer is cruising to New Zealand, Australia’s favourite destination and our favourite,” said Mr Allison.

Repeat guests drive Princess to find new experiences. And while the favourite is still Hobbiton, home of the Lord of the Rings movie set, new off-ship experiences like star gazing at Great Barrier Island were also becoming popular.

Mr Allison said the new vessel arrivals meant Australians could now experience the entire food experience offered by Princess, from Michelin starred chefs like Richard Chen to Curtis Stone.

For more information see a licensed travel agent or visit princess.com.