Cruising – it is Australia’s fastest growing industry and things aren’t slowing down in 2014.
For the cruising world outside our island, there’s anticipation surrounding new ships. Royal Caribbean is taking entertainment to an all new level with the launch of Quantum of the Seas in November. The ship will feature the latest in on board entertainment including the RipCord iFly, transformative venues and the North Star with 360° views.
Viking River Cruises is taking delivery of another 14 of its 190-passenger Longships. And Scenic Tours is set to launch two more ‘space ships’.
There’s a lot happening in the world of cruising, but locally there are a number of exciting additions and changes that has our industry claiming 2014 will be one of the biggest in cruising yet.
Carnival sends a Legend to Australia
Australians will have a second Carnival ship to sail during the 2013/14 wave season, with Carnival Legend her sister, Carnival Spirit in Australia.
The 2,124 passenger ship will set sail from Sydney Harbour on her first cruise from Australia on 24 September.
A Carnival spokesperson told Cruise Passenger plans are underway to celebrate her arrival with the Australian market. The spokesperson said no further information can be released at this point.
However, she will arrive fresh out of a $17 million ‘Aussiefication’ upgrade to make her perfectly suited for the upgrade.
Australians will be among the first to test out her new hangout – the RedFrog Pub. It will be the perfect spot to grab a beer and listen to live music.
During the drydock she will also receive a Cherry on Top confectionary store and a Bonsai Sushi restaurant.
In the entertainment department, she will receive the popular Green Thunder waterslide, also seen in the Carnival Spirit.
A second Celebrity graces on our shores
Celebrity Cruises is sending a second vessel to Australia this year, and it isn’t just any ship.
The line is preparing to send its co-flagship, Celebrity Century to Sydney on 10 October to join it’s the line’s other co-flagship, Celebrity Solstice.
A spokesperson told Cruise Passenger the ship will sail on South Pacific itineraries varying from 7-14 days throughout the 2014/15-summer season. She will also sail on short itineraries around Australia.
Celebrity Century entered Celebrity Cruises’ fleet in 1995 and received a complete refurbishment in April 2006. It was the line’s largest and most extensive refurbishment, with the ship receiving 314 new verandas, 14 new suites, ten new staterooms, a new specialty restaurant and an extended spa amongst other features.
Compagnie du Ponant adds the Austral in Australia
Arriving just before our calendars swap over to 2015 is Compagnie du Ponant’s L’Austral.
The 264-passenger vessel will be the line’s first expedition ship in Australia.
Although she will arrive in Cairns just after Boxing Day on 27 December 2014, she won’t commence her first Australian itinerary until 3 January 2015.
She will conduct a number of cruises on the east coast of the country and across the Tasman.
After her visit during the 2014/14 wave season, she will make her way to Vancouver for a series of Alaskan voyages.
March of the Queens
It’s been dubbed ‘March of the Queens’ and it’s the talk of this summer season.
Cunard has arranged for not one, not two, but three of its Queens to visit Australia, albeit not at the same time.
Queen Mary 2 will be the first to arrive when she sails into Fremantle on 12 February. During her visit she will make stops in Melbourne – 17 February; Sydney – 19 February; and Brisbane – 21 February. She will also visit the Whitsundays, Darwin and Cairns.
Queen Elizabeth will be the second to visit. She will greet Sydney first on 1-2 March, before sailing to Brisbane on 4 March and the Whitsundays on 6 March.
And finally, Queen Victoria will visit Brisbane on 3 March before sailing into Sydney on 5 March.
Silver Discoverer sails to the Kimberley
Silversea Cruises is expanding its reach across Australia, adding the Kimberley, Western Australia to Silver Discoverer’s destination list in 2014.
Dispatching the 128-guest vessel, the first 11-day expedition to the Kimberley will be in April.
Guests will be able to explore the region’s underwater marine life, wilderness and remote beauty before heading out to other remote areas.
Silver Discoverer is the line’s third expedition ship. Unlike the rest of the Silversea fleet, she has been leased and renamed for her previous identity, Clipper Odyssey.