Norwegian Jewel on its way to Sydney for 2018/19

State-by-state: the ultimate 2019/20 season preview

The summer cruise season is drawing to a close, but you can be sure that the lines and guests are already gearing up for the next.

In fact, the countdown has already started. The new season will bring new ships, fresh upgrades and some stunning new destinations and activities.

Because Australians are now booking 10 months out for the best cabins, we’ve put together this exclusive guide to summer 2019/20, so you can choose your cruise right now.

So what’s hot?  Trusted favourite New Zealand once again emerges as the firm favourite with many lines offering itineraries for guests to experience the natural Kiwi wonders.

But there are many new twists.

Princess Cruises’ 2019/20 New Zealand season will be the largest in the history of the line.  The line will continue to expand its impressive ‘Across the Ditch’ program, which brings guests unique local experiences like a night on a dark sanctuary island to see the stars.

Sydney remains the busiest Australian port with a whopping 12 cruise lines sending their ships to dock during the 2019/20 summer season.

Melbourne comes in second with five lines visiting the port.

But the rise of Brisbane sees the Queensland port, which next season will bring on stream its Luggage Point terminal and boast a larger number of itineraries, especially short breaks offered between Princess Cruises and P&O Cruises.

Also, watch the big jump in cruise offerings out of Adelaide – set to get even bigger in 2020/21. South Australians are about to get their biggest and best ever range of choices.

Here’s our state-by-state guide to your cruising season.

Fremantle, WA

Which lines are visiting?

Princess Cruises, Cunard, Royal Caribbean, Cruise&Maritime Voyages

Homeporting ships and itineraries 

CMV will be replacing MS Astor with Vasco da Gama to sail Fremantle and Adelaide this 2019/20 summer. The new ship will be increasing the line’s capacity by 5,900 in the coming season. The Vasco da Gama will be sailing nine itineraries from Fremantle in January and February 2020, covering the western coast such as Esparance, Albany, Broome and Geraldton and she also heads north to explore Southeast Asia in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand. Her itineraries are around one to weeks and she is also offering an Australia Day weekend cruise. For her last sailing in the region during the season, she makes a 71-night grand voyage to Britain, making stops at 36 ports.

Sun Princess will be spending a record 141 days in Fremantle and sailing itineraries to Southeast Asia earlier in the season before moving to sail South Australia and South Africa in 2020. Look forward to her new features added during her dry dock mid last year, like the return of Chef Curtis Stone’s restaurant on board, SHARE.

Cunard will be sending two of their queens down this summer, with Queen Elizabeth sailing Southern Australia in December 2019. The second queen, Queen Mary 2 will depart Fremantle in March 2020, sailing to Southampton as well as making a stop at Cape Town midway.

Two Cunard queens meeting in Sydney harbour in 2011.

Radiance of the Seas will be visiting on February 25 taking guests to South Australia and New Zealand, on five to 18-night itineraries.

Adelaide, SA

Which lines are visiting?

Princess Cruises, Cunard, P&O Cruises, Cruise&Maritime Voyages

Homeporting ships and itineraries

Golden Princess along with Sun Princess and the mighty  Majestic Princess will be visiting this season, bringing a surge in cruise ships in South Australia. The Golden Princess will be in South Australia waters and the South Pacific and, in between, she’ll be making a trip to New Zealand in January, 2020. Jump on the Majestic Princess to explore Perth, Malaysia and Singapore, and at the end of the season Sun Princess will be sailing from Adelaide to Sydney.

Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth will be offering short breaks from two-nights and longer sailings to New Zealand and Tasmania that are around week-long and up to 21-nights.

You can also catch a short break with P&O on the four-night ‘Southern Getaway’ itinerary and three-night comedy cruise on Pacific Aria.

P&O comedy cruises
P&O comedy cruises

CMV’s Vasco da Gama will be sailing eight itineraries from Adelaide and she will be the first cruse ship to visit South Australia’s Wallaroo, southern Yorke Peninsula and the wineries of Clare Valley. She starts sailing from December 2019 and proceeds to home port in Fremantle in mid January.

Melbourne, VIC

Which lines are visiting?

Cunard, Princess Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, P&O Cruises, Celebrity Cruises

Homeporting ships and itineraries

Queen Elizabeth will homeport in Melbourne and sail on six round trips from Melbourne during the season, along with two trips from Sydney, with itineraries travelling to South Australia, Tasmania, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea. Later in the season, in March 2020, QE will also be sailing to Asian destinations like Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo on their longer itineraries.

Golden Princess will be homeported here this season and she will be offering 12 itineraries to the region, ranging from five to 14-nights.

Carnival Spirit may be calling Brisbane her homeport in 2020 but she will be frequenting Melbourne in the summer. Enjoy new features added on after her dry dock upgrade last year as she sails on 10 to 12-night itineraries to the Pacific Islands and New Zealand. Check out the SoulPlay creative craft studio, a video arcade named The Warehouse and a new duty-free shopping area. For short breaks, she also sails weekend samplers and she is also going on a five-night voyage to Tasmania. She is also sailing a Melbourne Cup themed cruise, departing Sydney on 3 November 2019 for a six-night round trip, including three days in Melbourne complete with transfers and tickets to “fabulous Flemington” racecourse for both the Melbourne Cup and Oaks Day.

Carnival Spirit, Brisbane
Carnival Sprit in Brisbane

Pacific Aria also has a dedicated five-night itinerary to explore Tasmania, short breaks like their iconic comedy cruise and sailings to Sydney.

Celebrity Solstice will be sailing from Melbourne on their 10-night Australia and New Zealand itinerary in February 2020.

Sydney, NSW

Which lines are visiting?

Carnival Cruise Line, Princess, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania, Regent Seven Seas, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Club Cruises, P&O Australia, Ponant, Silversea, Holland America Line, Viking Ocean Cruises

Homeporting ships and itineraries

This summer, Celebrity Solstice will be sailing their Australian and New Zealand itinerary as well as the South Pacific. The line also sails a ‘Great Barrier Reef’ itinerary in October 2019 and January 2020, which covers six ports on the east coast in 12 and 11-nights. At the end of the season, she will also sail Tahiti, Bora Bora & Hawaii in a 17-night itinerary.

Carnival Splendor, Carnival’s newest and largest ship homeported year-round in Australia, will be sailing out of Sydney in the summer to the Pacific Islands, Queensland and Tasmania. The ship features a new waterpark including yet-to-be-named Green Thrill Slide, an expanded RedFrog Pub and a bigger Serenity Retreat area, their adults-only retreat. Foodies can also rejoice at the debut of four new restaurants aboard. The Carnival Spirit will also be sailing the Pacific Islands along with weekend samplers and a 18-night Transpacific voyage at the end of the season.

P&O Cruises will have Pacific Explorer sailing multiple short breaks, on comedy cruises, as well as sailings to Eden, Moreton Island and Tasmania. Their longer sailings explore Vanuatu, Southern Barrier Reef and Indonesia.

Majestic Princess is coming back to Sydney for her second season and Ruby Princess will be making her maiden arrival in Australia. Together they will sail 12-day and 14-day Australia and New Zealand sailings between Sydney and Auckland. This season also includes a brand new 3-day New Zealand getaway itinerary on Ruby Princess, departing Auckland on December 2019.

On Royal Caribbean this summer, the Ovation of the Seas is joined by Radiance of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas to sail Queensland, the South Pacific, New Zealand and Fiji. They have 27 itineraries ranging from seven to 14-night in the South Pacific. The shorter cruises can be found on board Voyager of the Seas, which will be sailing sampler cruises, Queensland and Tasmania.

Azamara Journey will be making two sailings this season, one to New Zealand and the other to multiple ports in Queensland before visiting Bali, and concluding in Singapore.

The Norwegian Jewel had one of the line’s most extensive refits last year and she is returning to Sydney for her third season in 2019/20. Jewel will be sailing exclusively to New Zealand from November to February this season and she will be visiting unique ports of calls such as Whangarei, Lyttelton, as well as coastal town Gisborne. Also new to the line are one-way itineraries between Sydney and Auckland. Norwegian’s new South Pacific itinerary now sails via Hawaii and Tahiti before returning to Sydney.

Norwegain Jewel Atrium
Norwegain Jewel Atrium

Oceania’s MS Regatta will be receiving a bow to stern refurbishment in September 2019 and guests sailing with her to Auckland will get to enjoy the refreshed ship. The ship will feature the rich hues of an elegant estate home, with intricate and luxurious accents.

Regent Seven Seas will also have Seven Seas Voyager, Navigator and Mariner visiting this summer with itineraries sailing from Singapore, Papeete and Bali, as well as itineraries to New Zealand. Navigator and Mariner will be arriving in Sydney from Papeete in January and February respectively. Navigator will be circling Australia in January before moving on to sail to New Zealand and the Pacific. Mariner will be setting off to Singapore in March, stopping at Queensland and Indonesia along the way. Voyager will arrive in Sydney from Singapore but earlier in December, before making one sailing to Auckland in January 7.

Ponant’s newest adventure ship Le Laperouse, which launched mid last year will be home porting in Darwin and sailing the ‘Kimberley Cruise’ from May to August before heading out to Asia. But she returns to Australia in December to make a sailing from Sydney to Hobart before sailing around New Zealand for the rest of the season.

Blue Eye, the world-first underwater lounge on Le Laperouse

Silver Muse by luxury line Silversea will be making a few sailings to New Zealand throughout the season.

Holland America’s MS Maasdam will also be sailing from Sydney on longer itineraries to New Zealand and the South Pacific ranging from about 14 to 28-days.

Viking Ocean Cruises is sending Viking Orion to make two-week sailings to Auckland from Sydney. The deluxe line which is uniquely Nordic is home porting their 930-guest small ship for the second summer season.

Brisbane, QLD

Which lines are visiting?

Princess Cruises, P&O Cruises, Cunard

Homeporting ships and itineraries

Sea Princess will be calling Brisbane home this season and offers voyages to New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Queensland, South Pacific and Hawaii. She will also be sailing an in depth 35-night Transpacific itinerary at the start of the season in August. Brisbane will also be receiving Sun Princess who will be sailing a ‘Northern Explorer’ itinerary that is just over two weeks, concluding in Fremantle early in the season in October. She returns in April 2020 for an epic 77-night circling of the Pacific. For those who wish to get a glimpse of the Majestic Princess, she is making a single 2-night sailing to Sydney in September.

Majestic Princess – the ship made for China that will now call Australia home
On the Majestic Princess

Pacific Dawn and Aria will both be sailing the north of the east coast, with highlights such as the Country Music Festival at Sea sailing in December 2019 and the 1980’s Tribute Cruise sailing in February 2020. They will also be making multiple roundtrip sailings to Whitsundays and other ports like Cairns and Willis Island in the ‘Barrier Reef Discovery’ itinerary as well as the ‘Pacific Island’ itinerary. Pacific Aria is also sailing a ‘New Guinea Island Encounter’ itinerary, which brings you to Alotau, Kiriwina Island and Conflict Islands in Papua New Guinea.

Brisbane will be will also see Queen Elizabeth when she sails longer itineraries of up to 31-nights to Asian destinations such as Tokyo, Hong Kong, Singapore. She will also make a 21-night sailing to Tasmania and Papua New Guinea in February 2020.