When APT’s Caledonian Sky made her way over the horizon towards Darwin in June 2021, she represented a beacon of hope for the cruise industry.
She was the first foreign flagged ship to arrive in Australia in over a year with a full itinerary of Kimberley sailings. Now, the Australian company has revealed new itineraries between November 2021 and March 2022, which are designed for cruisers to explore one state.
The voyages are designed to battle lockdowns of states and territories which APT’s Managing Director Chris Hall says is a way for travellers to combat border closures.
The Caledonian Sky will cruise from Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide, and Fremantle and will also offer a number of voyages between the states.
But the focus is to attract and market to residents of these states to try these new local voyages.
“As a lot of cruisers on the eastern seaboard are desperate to sail the Kimberley or even get on a ship, we’re now offering them the chance to be able to do that. The voyages are designed so that people can feel secure that they can cruise within their own state, without the threat of facing a border closure,” he said.
“We have done a lot of work on these itineraries and have liaised with the federal and state governments around health protocols and permissions. And what we are hoping is that this might provide a pathway for the rest of the cruise industry.”
Mr Hall told Cruise Passenger that while APT employed predominantly Australians onboard the Caledonian Sky, around 30 per cent of key personnel had to be flown in from overseas.
“The operation in the Kimberley is a major milestone for the industry as we have a mix of Australian and foreign crew. But we had implemented the proper protocols and paperwork to make sure that the larger cruise lines have a road map they can use.
“What we do in some small way, with the success of the voyages, hopefully will help the state and federal governments plan a way for the larger vessels, with more foreign crew, come back to Australia. But in saying that, the state bodies see the benefits in these new intrastate voyages and the benefits the cruise sector have on the tourism industry.”
The key itineraries include:
5-day Coastal Victorian Discovery: Cruise from Melbourne return along the fabled Shipwreck Coast, visiting Port Fairy, Portland, Loch Ard Gorge and the 12 Apostles. Cruise past the limestone stacks at sunset before entering Western Port Bay and sailing by Phillip Island on the way to a wine tasting and lunch at a renowned Mornington Peninsula winery. Departing Melbourne 21 and 25 November 2021 these 5-day cruises are priced from $3,795 per person, twin share including the 15% discount.
8-day Tasmania’s Wilderness Coast: From Hobart return, explore King Island and its gourmet treats, the beautiful Freycinet Peninsula and World Heritage-listed Cradle Mountain. Follow the Tamar Valley wine route for sparkling wine tastings, travel to Port Arthur Penal Settlement by Zodiac, and encounter Hobart’s eclectic Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). There are two departures 5 and 12 December 2021 which are priced from $8,895 per person, twin share including the 15% discount.
8-day South Australian Coastal Frontier: Cruise from Adelaide return along the Limestone Coast, with the option of visiting the World Heritage-listed Naracoorte Caves or Mt Gambier, home to the famous Blue Lake. Discover Kangaroo Island’s scenery and wildlife, explore Port Lincoln by boat, and eat fresh-from-the-ocean oysters at Coffin Bay. Add a visit to the Barossa Valley for a special lunch at St Hugo. The four departures dates are, 30 December 2021; 6, 13, 20 January 2022 priced from $8,195 per person, twin share including the 15% discount.
8-day South West Coast Explorer: Depart from Fremantle return to discover Margaret River’s fine wineries and spectacular scenery, walking part of the famous Cape to Cape Track along the coast. Visit historic Albany, picturesque Lucky Bay in Cape Le Grand National Park and the Fitzgerald River National Park. The three departures dates are, 23 February, 2 and 9 March 2022 and priced from $7,391 per person, twin share including the 15% discount.
Other trips are a 7-day Tasmania Exploration from Melbourne to Hobart from $6,796, a 12-day Tasmania & South Australia Expedition from Hobart to Adelaide or reverse from $12,595, and an epic 17-day Tasmania & the Great Southern Coast journey from Hobart to Fremantle from $15,976; (all prices are per person, twin share and include discount).