Some are already here, of course. But in just a few weeks time, Australia’s wave season begins in earnest with some of the best ships ever on display. Luxury cruise lines and small ship operators are returning in force for what promises to be a jam packed few months from September to March. Here’s what the lines are offering.
They’ve stormed the Kimberley, sending three ships to sail one of Australia’s most remote destinations next year. Luxury expedition line Ponant has successfully started its 2022 Kimberley season and has big plans for 2023. The arrival of the line’s refurbished three-masted sailing yacht, Le Ponant heralds a big season for the line with the 32-passenger vessel starting voyages in April 2023. The special relationship Ponant’s chairwoman Sarina Bratton has with the Paspaley family will allow guests sailing on Le Ponant the chance to fly in one of Paspaley’s vintage Grumman Mallard flying boats, and to see the Paspaley pearl operations in Kuri Bay.
Ponant’s other vessels Le Laperouse and Le Soleal will also be based Down Under, sailing a range of exciting immersive itineraries. The new Wild Landscapes of Kimberley & South-East Asia departs from Bali and takes adventure lovers to the sublime islands of East Timor and Indonesia, as well as the Kimberley. The 15-day voyage sails to the Lacepede Islands nature reserve and Komodo National park, home to Komodo dragons who reign supreme over these remote islands.
Regent Seven Seas
Ultra-luxury line Regent Seven Seas sails into Australian waters in December 2022. The line’s Seven Seas Explorer has six itineraries, mainly between Sydney and Auckland, with two repositioning voyages taking in the sights of Asia.
Starting on December 12, Seven Seas Explorer departs from Singapore and makes her way through Indonesia before reaching Darwin on December 20. Guests will spend time in Semarang and Surabaya, and enjoy an overnight stop in Bali. Explorer will glide down the east coast of Australia, calling at Cairns and Brisbane, before arriving in Sydney for the Australian wave season.
Seven Seas Explorer will also head to New Zealand and visit Auckland, Napier, Wellington and Christchurch, as well as sailing the fjords of the Dusky and Doubtful Sounds.
Silver Muse, Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper will grace our shores over the 2022/23 wave season, with Silver Explorer currently sailing on expedition voyages in the Kimberley between Broome and Darwin.
The arrival of so many Silversea ships shows great confidence in the Australian luxury market with the line sailing 31 voyages in Australia and New Zealand, including a new itinerary through the Kimberley and Australia’s west coast, unlocking the best of the region for guests. On top of Silversea’s iconic offering in the Kimberley, Silver Explorer will complete an all-new 17-day itinerary, enabling guests to discover the Dampier Archipelago and the Monte Bello Islands, before venturing as far south as Fremantle. Silver Muse, meanwhile, will sail shorter options of 12 and 13 days throughout Australia and New Zealand, with an overnight in Hobart, Tasmania, following strong demand from guests; as well as longer voyages that also incorporate Asia and Melanesia. The line has a fantastic Papeete to Auckland itinerary which visits the idyllic South Pacific islands of Bora Bora, Pago Pago, Apia and more.
The culinary and destination-focused line will be sending Oceania Regatta to Australia between December and March. Departing from Sydney, Regatta will head to Queensland before sailing to destinations in the South Pacific including Laukota, Moorea and Papeete.
In Moorea, Oceania offer an excursion to Moorea’s reef to see the island’s pod of dolphins with a marine biology researcher as your guide. If the season is right, you may also see pilot whales and even humpback whales.
Regatta will spend a night in Bora Bora, where a raft of shore excursions are on offer, including a Moana Jet Ski Adventure that takes in the sights of Bora Bora’s twin volcanic peaks from the sea.
Celebrity Eclipse will be heading Down Under, with a special focus on New Zealand cruises. Varying between nine to 12 nights, Eclipse will head to destinations like Christchurch, the Bay of Islands and Tauranga. In the Bay of Islands, cruisers can take a special eco-cruise and discover the area’s rich wildlife: dolphins, penguins, marlines, whales and an array of birdlife. It’s also a prime spot to swim and kayak.
Eclipse will also head to Tasmania visiting Hobart and Port Arthur. Known as one of the world’s most significant penal colonies, guests can wander around the World Heritage site.
The traditional cruise line heads back Down Under with themed voyages on offer. Queen Elizabeth will make her regal entrance on an eight-night Fremantle to Sydney from November 7 to 15. She’ll also visit New Zealand, take guests on short jaunts around Australia’ east coast and host special cruises for gardening and food lovers. The Australia’s Gardening Journey on Queen Elizabeth is a seven-night voyage with nine leading gardening experts who will impart their knowledge, discuss the latest gardening trends, share ideas in hands-on workshops and more.
Celebrity chef Matt Moran is also hosting a special culinary cruise. Guests will learn about Indigenous ingredients and sample beautiful Australian wines on bespoke shore excursions.
Viking Ocean is offering an Auckland-Sydney (and vice versa) voyage visiting the cities of The Land of The Long White Cloud, as well as taking in the rugged South Island coastline and the scenic Foveaux Strait. The cruise also stops in Tasmania and Melbourne and sails the Gippsland Coast. This voyage will sail 12 times between December and March, and guests can also add pre and post cruise extensions to take in the best of Australia, Sydney, Auckland or Tongariro National Park.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Spirit, fresh from her refurbishment, will be sailing voyages around New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific. A highlight journey departs from Papeete in French Polynesia, and Norwegian Spirit visits Moorea, Bora Bora, Pago Pago, Lautoka, Dravuni and Isle of Pines before arriving in Sydney. There are also several 12-night Australia and New Zealand cruises, and an Australian-only cruise.
It’s going to be a bumper season for Royal Caribbean with the line bringing three of its biggest and best Down Under. Both Ovation of the Seas, based in Sydney, and Quantum of the Seas, based in Brisbane, are bringing new elements to the market, with bumper cars, bionic bars and array of dining options. Both vessels are offering everything from sampler voyages for cruisers to experience the ships to longer journeys around Australia and to the South Pacific and New Zealand.
Coral and Royal Princess will be based in Australia for this year’s wave season. Coral Princess starts sailing roudtrip Brisbane in June on three-to-12-day itineraries calling at destinations in Queensland and New South Wales. In August, Coral Princess will position to Sydney and depart on a new 12-day voyage calling to Queensland and the Conflict Islands in Papua New Guinea, before resuming the previously announced Australia & New Zealand program for the 2022/2023 season. Grand Princess sails from Melbourne, and Majestic Princess will sail from Sydney, including a new Queensland voyage in February 2023 at the end of her already published season.
Australian small ship adventure line Coral Expeditions has continued its operations throughout the last two years. Successfully sailing in the Kimberley, they have expanded their voyage offerings to Tasmania where guests can embark on cruise and hike itineraries to explore the state’s beautiful landscapes and search for wildlife. Coral is also offering a special Yachtsman’s Cruise to watch the famous Sydney to Hobart race.
In April 2023, Coral Adventurer is sailing a Solar Eclipse Expedition in partnership with the Australian Geographic Society. The ship sails to the remote Australian territory of Ashmore Reef and Cartier Island where guests will not only see whale sharks and dugongs, but also the rare hybrid solar eclipse event.
APT will be sailing the luxurious Caledonia Sky in the Kimberley next year, travelling back and forth between Broome and Darwin. The selling point is a dedicated 10-member expedition team who will take you ashore to Bigge Island to discover Indigenous rock art, go on a high-powered boat ride through Horizontal Falls and join the expedition to explore Montgomery Reef by Zodiac.
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