Royal Caribbean has a 10 year expansion plan for Australia which could include an Oasis class ship and port investment.
The line’s new managing director for Australia and New Zealand Gavin Smith told Cruise Passenger at the launch of Royal Caribbean’s 2019/20 season the plan includes investing in Australian ports like Sydney and bringing the world’s largest ships Down Under.
“We are very interested in the Port of Brisbane which will be very exciting. And the port will be large and deep enough to be able to cater to Oasis class ships,” he said.
But he explained there are many port limitations if Oasis class vessels, which can cater up to 6,000 people, came to Australia.
“It’s not so much the issue of getting the ship here but it’s what you do with the Oasis class ships once they arrive. There is a responsibility for bringing 6,000 people to port and offloading them. What do you do with them? It’s much more than tying up the ship at the pier.
“But we do have a 10-year-plan which will mean more ships and potentially providing investment into Sydney’s new port. Whether that is financial investment or offering advice, that is yet to be determined.”
This season, Mr Smith said Voyager of the Seas will be the big arrival for the Australian market – a ship many keen RCI fans thought wouldn’t return to our waters.
“Voyager was taken away and that was distressing to many cruisers. She’s a popular ship and she has a lot of outdoor space and those big top decks perfect for the South Pacific,” he said.
“What happened was that the ship was going to remain in Asia, and we had a different amplification schedule. But the Australian business has been strong, so we took over the amplification.”
Mr Smith said she will be even more appealing for the family market, especially from a cost point of view.
“We made a decision to focus on things like the kids’ area, the laser tag, and the waterslides because it’s just an exciting part of kids holidays. To me, she fills the gap. Radiance of the Seas can cater for around 2,800 against Ovation of the Seas at 5,000,” he said.
“Some people say Ovation is too big and some others say Radiance is too small. So, it’s that healthy middle ground and she’s very family oriented. Ovation has a lot of toys, but Voyager is really in the hearts and mind of the Australian public. Because Ovation has so many balconies, she may look a little more expensive. Voyager has a heap of inside and balconies so it’s perfect for mums, dads and kids. It sits in the slightly more affordable range, perfect for families.”
Mr Smith was the first managing director of Royal Caribbean’s first Sydney office in 2008, and has been Senior Vice President International since leaving Australia.
His return has been warmly welcomed by many in the cruise industry.