Despite tumbles and turns along the way, 2022 marked a victorious year for cruise. Not only cruising return to Australian shores, but those all over the industry have been reporting unprecedented demand and high customer satisfaction.
President of Carnival Australia and P&O Cruises Australia Marguerite Fitzgerald says for Carnival cruises, it’s been a pleasure to be at the helm of Australian tourism’s recovery.
“We are seeing the rapid recovery of cruise tourism in Australia and Carnival Australia’s brands are set to make an important contribution during the 2022-23 summer cruise season.
“The resurgence of cruising and the revitalisation of the $5 billion a year cruise industry has happened at a faster rate than could have been expected after more than two challenging years.”
Carnival alone will generate more than $1 billion in economic activity between September 1, 2022 and April 30, 2023.
With 2022 soon to be in the rear-view mirror, we asked the leading cruise lines to reflect on the year soon to be past and pick out some of their best and most defining moments.
Amongst many triumphs of 2022, for Royal Caribbean it’s tough to beat the raw numbers. The cruise line broke its record for single-day bookings three times this year, most recently after its Black Friday sales. The latest record breaking sales are also partially due to the huge levels of interests shown in the upcoming Icon of the Seas.
Michael Bayley, president and CEO, Royal Caribbean International said: “This has been a year for the books at Royal Caribbean International, from the full return of our 26 ships to the first look at Icon of the Seas, the best family vacation in the world.
“Every milestone met is an accomplishment achieved, it’s a wonderful start to 2023 and we are excited for what lies ahead. We could not have reached this point without our loyal guests, valued travel advisors and partners, and the Royal Caribbean International team around the world.”
Princess Cruises nominated their best moment of the year as their return to the shores of the Melbourne, celebrating with smiles after an agonising wait.
A Princess Cruises spokesperson said: “This year, Princess Cruises made a grand return to Melbourne with the arrival of Coral Princess in September 2022. At a uniquely Melbourne event, she was greeted by the city’s most iconic communities including chefs, sporting stars, representatives from the Spring Racing Carnival as well as a host of colourful Brazilian dancers.
“Sporting a ‘We Love Melbourne’ banner, the ship brought almost 2000 passengers to enjoy the sights and sounds of Australia’s culture capital. The arrival of the Coral Princess marked a historic milestone, making her the first cruise ship to return to Melbourne in more than two years. Along with other Carnival Australia-brand ships, cruising will bring nearly $115 million in economic value to Victoria this season alone.”
Luxury line Silversea picked out both an international and a local success for the year.
Internationally Silver Endeavour’s naming ceremony holds a special place in the heart of the Silversea team, with the shiny new ship getting christened in Antarctica.
It was the first ever naming ceremony for a ship in the region, with Felicity Aston, the first woman to ski solo across Antarctica, there to godmother the beautiful new ship.
Locally, returning to Asia and Australia marked a huge milestone for Silversea according to Silversea Managing Director Asia Pacific Adam Radwanski.
“The excitement was palpable as Silver Muse set sail on her long-awaited voyage, marking Silversea’s celebrated return to Asia and Australia earlier this month. Spirits were at a record high among staff in the office, our crew, our trade partners, and our guests. It is surely our most anticipated Asian and Australian season yet.
“Silver Muse is our first ocean liner in the Asia-Pacific seas in more than 1,000 days. It is so rewarding after such a long wait.”
Jeff Gillies, Commercial Director of Coral Expeditions says nothing from this year can beat the lines glorious return to the Kimberley.
“For us it would be the 1st sailings in the Kimberley in April this year. Beautiful weather, flowing waterfalls and full ships. Even though we had some rotten times early in the year with Omicron spread causing concerns for cruises, April signaled the time when all restrictions lifted, and confidence returned to our crew.
“ It was a tangible mood shift and guests and crew loved being back in the Kimberley. And what a season. No interruptions and over 4000 guests got the chance to get to this magic destination. The perfect cure to the blues of the past years.”
For the team at Celebrity, when reflecting their clear standout was the launch of Celebrity Beyond.
Godmother by olympic hero Simone Biles and helmed by the celebrated Captain Kate, the new ship has proved a roaring success as the newest member of Celebrity’s fleet.
CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo said: “Celebrity Cruises has always been an innovator at sea, and now we have challenged the status quo with a vessel that goes beyond expectations, beyond imagination.
“Celebrity Beyond shatters any and every preconceived notion of the cruising experience. This exquisite ship offers a journey at the intersection of elegance and approachability filled with what’s important to our guests today: forward-thinking design, culinary excellence, unparalleled wellbeing and incomparable service.
“With Celebrity Beyond, we saw an opportunity to take the extraordinary features of Celebrity Edge – like the focus on the connection with the ocean and the grand spaces – and really amplify them.”’
Norwegian Cruise Line
Rather than narrow down their wins and triumphs of 2022, NCL put forward quite a few moments that stood out above the rest over 2022.
Headline the list is of course the launch of its newest ship, Norwegian Prima. Also highlighted was NCL’s return to Australia after three years, their charitable partnership with Take 3 for the Sea and their return to Hawaii.
The team is also grateful and proud of many of the awards they’ve raked in this year such as Best Contemporary Cruise Line by Cruise Passenger, Silver Quality Service Award by Readers Digest and Most Outstanding Industry Support- Cruise and Most Outstanding marketing Campaign- Walk for Wellness at the National Travel Industry Awards.
What could possibly top being the first cruise ship to sail through Sydney Heads after the cruise community had been deprived for so long?
A P&O spokesperson wrote: “Significantly, P&O’s Pacific Explorer become the first cruise ship to return through Sydney Heads on 18 April following the lifting of the cruise ban in Australia.
“Not long later, she welcomed her first guests back on board departing Sydney’s White Bay Cruise Terminal on 31 May bound for Brisbane. During this momentous voyage, she became the first ship to dock at the brand-new Brisbane International Cruise Terminal which was officially opened on her arrival by Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk.”
Some other exciting moments the team made note of include P&O being the first line to return to a range of destinations including Auckland, Tasmania, Adelaide, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia and Vanuatu.
Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival also has a host of memories from 2022 that won’t be forgotten anytime soon. They see some of the highlights as Carnival Splendour coming back to Sydney, porting the brands first ever ship out of Queensland and Carnival Luminosa sailing out of Brisbane for the first time.
Another milestone was Carnival Cruise line not only celebrating 10 years in Australia, but also celebrating the brand’s 50 year birthday globally, a feat of longevity that was not just significant for Carnival, but for the cruising world at large.
Cunard of course couldn’t look past their much-awaited return to Australia after two-and-a-half years, shortly followed by Queen Elizabeth’s first circumnavigation of Australia.
Also named as short of the biggest moments of the year gone by are Queen Elizabeth’s return to New Zealand and the revealing of the name Queen Anne for Cunard’s fourth ship that will arrive early in 2024.