We speak to keen cruisers booked into the first Brisbane sailing in more than two years, and the first from its new terminal.
Guests are eagerly awaiting the first Princess Cruise sailing from Australia since the beginning of the pandemic, as the Coral Princess gets ready to depart Brisbane next week.
The sold-out weekend sailing will let keen cruisers like Rohan O’Brien get their sea legs back.
“[We’re] really excited that we can finally cruise again,” the loyal Princess passenger. “… Just to be able to get back on a ship will be great.”
Stepping on board for this 26th cruise – his 23rd with Princess – O’Brien says he enjoys the service, the crew and the like-minded passengers. “The food’s not bad either.”
The Coral Princess, which is the first to be homeported from Brisbane’s new cruise terminal, will depart the Queensland capital on June 16 with 2,000 guests onboard for a three-night cruise to sea.
Not stopping at any ports isn’t putting off any cruisers.
“One of the great things about cruising for me is the sea days,” says Michele Watts, a Brisbane local who will also be on board the first sailing. “To be able to sit out on the balcony and just relax and take in the world is what I am most looking forward to.”
It’s Watts’ sixth cruise, but her first with Princess and she’s “very excited”.
“We chose this cruise as it was just what we needed to get back into cruising again” she says. “And as a bonus, it was the first cruise out of Brisbane and [it’s from] the new International Cruise Terminal.”
The ship’s initial jaunt is followed by a four-night sail to Airlie Beach and back on June 19 and a longer, seven-night Queensland coastal trip to Airlie Beach, Cairns, Port Douglas and Willis Island on 26 June.
Many of its first sailings have already sold out.
A Cleveland, Queensland, resident, O’Brien is relieved he can cruise from his home port again and doesn’t have to fly anywhere. “[It’s] very hard to social distance, sitting so close.”
So much so, that he’s booked himself on a handful of upcoming cruises, including an 12-day tour of Australia’s east coast in July.
Being amongst one of the first cruises to depart during the pandemic could carry some risk in some passengers’ eyes.
However, he’s not too concerned about the risk of COVID-19 infection onboard. “We feel that the cruise industry has been very proactive on implementing COVID protocols.”
In his eyes, it’s “hard to blame the cruise industry for the spread.”