Cruise lines are offering rock-bottom prices for last-minute local departures as Australians jump on board bargain-basement voyages. Book now and passengers can also save significantly on European summer itineraries.
Some deals are making it cheaper to cruise – for anything from seven to 17 nights – than to take a business class flight to destinations in the South Pacific and SouthEast Asia.
Celebrity Cruises’ Black Friday upcoming deals for example, are offering up to 75 per cent off a second guest, along with savings of up to $225 per stateroom, with bookings going live from November 11-14. The offer is for all sailings three nights and longer, until April 30, 2024.
Travellers can still take advantage of current savings on offer on Australian, New Zealand and South Pacific itineraries now available onboard Celebrity Edge, which is making her way to Australia for a debut season Down Under.
Alternatively, guests can also enjoy cost savings on Caribbean or European itineraries onboard Celebrity Ascent, Celebrity Cruises’ newest vessel launching in November.
The offer includes a February 25, 2024, departure from Sydney for the Great Barrier Reef, onboard Celebrity Edge that was $4050 and now averages $1807 per person (for a minimum of two people).
The 11-night round trip stops at five ports, has four sea days and one overnight stay in Cairns. Highlights include the impossibly white sands of Airlie Beach, a Great Barrier Reef exploration and an animal sanctuary stop in Port Douglas. Cruise past Willis Island and spot exotic wildlife in the distance, while in Brisbane, you’ll find restaurants, beaches, and animal parks.
An 11-night round trip to New Zealand aboard Celebrity Edge that hits six ports and includes four sea days was $4084 but is now an average $1869 per person (minimum two people).
Shore destination options include a scenic bike ride along the Queen Charlotte Sound in Picton or local and vintage wine tasting at a Napier winery. Or stroll down the shops and restaurants along Wellington’s Oriental Bay or board the historic tram around Christchurch. Nature lovers will get to see white albatross in Dunedin and other wildlife while cruising down New Zealand’s famous fjords, including Milford Sound.
In Europe, Northern Hemisphere itineraries include seven nights in Spain, France and Italy, onboard Celebrity Ascent departing June 29. The almost $6000 voyage is now $2773 per person on average for a minimum of two. Other voyages include seven nights in Greece, Turkey and Italy, onboard Celebrity Ascent, departing August 3, 2024. It is now less than half price, from $4636 to $2038 (on average per person), a saving of $2598.
‘Clients love significant savings…’
Michelle Levins, from My Cruise Concierge, says clients are loving seeing significant discounts closer to home.
“The larger cruise lines have some fantastic pricing for Feb and beyond,” she says. “Our agency are looking at Silversea who have some great NZ voyages for sale, including cabin upgrades and no solo supplements for some.
“Our clients that like to travel together but still want their own space are loving these amazing specials.”
Take the all access pass to Asia on P&O, aboard Pacific Adventure for 15 nights, for example. It departs January 13, hitting four ports and is AU$1274, or just $85 a night. The voyage covers Komodo Island, the home of the world’s largest living species of lizard, or go Ayung River White Water Rafting on a shore tour in Bali. Then there is the famous shopping destination of Orchard Road in Singapore, and finish off with a visit to the Raffles Hotel. But you have to find your own flight back from Singapore. Meanwhile, a return Premium Economy Sale flight from Sydney to Singapore, with Singapore Airlines, costs $2142 economy or $2877 premium economy.
Elsewhere, a seven-day South Pacific cruise from Brisbane, onboard Carnival Luminosa, departing March 3, covers Lifou and Mystery Island in Vanuatu before returning to Brisbane. A Cloud 9 Spa Interior, with spa perks, is available for $846 or around $120 per day. Stateroom perks include priority spa reservations, unlimited use of Thermal Suites and Hydrotherapy Pool, scrub kit and two free fitness classes. Return business flights with Virgin to Port Vila, around the same dates are AU$1446.
“We have been doing large Europe bookings so I think our clients have been focused on those for 23/24 but hopefully will jump at some of the incredible itineraries and pricing we have at our doorstep,” adds Levins.