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Oceania, the line that recently revealed Australia is its number one market outside America, is spending more than a billion dollars on two new ships.

The two Allura-class ships, with room for 1,200 passengers each, will bring Oceania Cruises fleet up to eight and cost AU$900 million each.

The new investment is a testament to the line’s strong market position and appeal at the upper-premium level of cruise, where it will be the leader in small and medium ships.

Recently launched Viking Ocean Cruises is also building its fleet in this sector. It so far has six ships.

Bob Binder, president and chief executive officer of Oceania Cruises, said the new ships would represent an “evolution” of Oceania’s onboard experience, with a focus on residential-style staterooms and suites, as well as gourmet cuisine.

Oceania’s spend comes on top of its fleet-wide OceaniaNEXT $100 million upgrade of four of its small ships this year.

The four ships will be “better than new”, according to the line, and there is no doubt its passengers are devoted to the vessels’ signature mix of wide corridors, artworks and food kitchens.

The company said this new class of mid-size cruise vessels will retain all the design elements and signature amenities of the line’s Marina and Riviera, while adding a number of new features.

Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer of Oceania Cruises parent company Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, said that the new ships would help to meet strong demand for upscale culinary- and destination-focused cruise vacations.

At the end of last year, Oceania’s vice president of sales Steve McLaughlin revealed the special status of Australia as the line’s number two market.

He attributed the success to the line’s careful food positioning and differentiating it from competition.

New Zealand has also moved to be Oceania’s fourth largest market.

He also revealed Australia accounted for more than half the fly/cruise market for Oceania out of Australia to the Baltics and Mediterranean.

Oceania’s 180-night World Cruise have been very successful with Australian cruisers.

Oceania also announced a stunning line up of 80 new exclusive land tour options, including Australia, Asia, Africa, Egypt Europe, South America and Canada.

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