This summer Australia will be home to 46 international cruise ships, including some of the best and biggest in the business.
More luxury ships from lines like Regent Seven Seas, Ponant, Viking, Oceania, Cunard and Seabourn are set to visit from October to March next year.
And between P&O Australia, Royal Caribbean, Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line and Celebrity Cruise line alone, 11 of the big ships will take to Australian shores.
Princess will sail three ships across Australia and New Zealand, including the popular Majestic Princess. All three P&O Australia ships will be back in operation, the return of the beloved Carnival Splendor and the new Carnival Luminosa means the Fun Ships are back.
Particularly anticipated is the return of Royal Caribbean to Australia, with Ovation of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas bringing two huge ships of fun back to Australia.
Dave Humphreys, director of sales, Royal Caribbean International Australia and New Zealand says pent up demand has bookings looking extremely strong.
“Pent up demand from Royal Caribbean’s 2-year hiatus in Australia has meant bookings on both Quantum Class ships coming to Australia have been extremely strong.
“Bookings across Royal Caribbean’s Australia 2022-2023 summer season are performing well, with huge demand from Australians who are eager to get back to sea. Web traffic is exceeding pre-pandemic levels and enquiries on sailings have been significantly increasing.”
Mr Humphreys says if you have your heart set on a particular cabin or suite category you should move fast.
“Our interconnecting balcony staterooms which are ideal for multigen families always sell out fast.
“We also see as great deal of demand for our suites as Australian guests look to indulge on their holiday with features such as our Royal Genie who as a personal butler, can craft exclusive one-of-a-kind experiences, all designed around the Star suite guest.”
As far from as itineraries that are moving quickly, Mr Humphreys highlights Ovation and Quantum’s two 12-night sailings that stretch across Australia, New Zealand and the islands of the South Pacific.
CLIA Managing Director Australasia Joel Katz says demand is strong across the industry.
“The sight of magnificent international cruise ships back in Australian and New Zealand waters has created a huge sense of anticipation and cruise lines are reporting good demand for cruising over the coming summer and into the future.”
According to CLIA’s latest sentiment surveys, Australians are revelling in the return of cruise as the numbers show spirits soaring since last year.
In November last year, of Australians who have never cruised before, only 43% said they would be open to cruising, but that number has now rebounded to 56%. Similarly of the 73% of past cruisers who last November said they would cruise again in the next few years, 81% are now ready to commit to a sailing.
Furthermore, among both cruises and non-cruisers, 65% said they were likely or very likely to book a cruise in the next two years, well ahead of the 53% from last November and even slightly up from the 64% pre-pandemic.
Mr Katz says these numbers are a sign of the times as Aussie’s get ready for cruise again.
“Australians and New Zealanders have always been among the world’s most passionate cruisers, so it’s great to see enthusiasm among past guests is back at pre-pandemic levels.
“Sentiment has climbed even higher in other countries where cruise operations have been running for some time, so we can be confident of a similar rise in our region as we move forward.”
The momentum will only continue in the following season as heavyweights Virgin Voyages and Disney Cruises pay their first visits to Australia, as numbers tick back towards the massive 60 ships that visited Australia during its last pre-COVID wave season.