There’s a new trend in Australian cruising, and it’s one that will give Australians the opportunity to board more ships direct from their doorsteps.
It’s called home porting.
It’s where cruise lines base ships out of Australian ports and make regular cruises from the destination for a certain period of time. This is different from visiting the country for one cruise before moving on to another region.
Traditionally Sydney has been the chosen home port for cruise ships staying in the country, however, things are quickly changing.
In April this year, Princess Cruises announced it would send Golden Princess to Melbourne for the 2015/16-summer season. This was followed by Royal Caribbean’s decision to send Legend of the Seas to Brisbane for the same season.
And now P&O is planning to do the same, by moving more of its fleet Australia-wide.
This week, the line announced it will increase its Australian fleet from three to five, giving it more vessels to home port around the country.
Currently, the line has Pacific Jewel and Pacific Pearl, which are both based out of Sydney year-round and Pacific Dawn, which is based in Brisbane.
In an exclusive interview with Cruise Passenger, Ms Sherry said although Sydney is P&O’s biggest market, the line is now looking at other ports for its new ships.
Describing Sydney’s infrastructure as “chocked”, she said spreading the line’s reach would benefit P&O and passengers.
“The infrastructure in other parts of Australia actually isn’t too bad, and that’s part of the considerations,” she said.
“The more we can put ships on people’s door steps, the easier it is for them [Australians] to cruise.”
Although ports will be announced in the coming months, she did mention people in Western Australia would benefit from a ship based in Fremantle.
“Obviously if you’re living in Fremantle it’s a long way to fly and there are plenty of things for people to do on their doorsteps so making it easier for people to cruise is part of our strategy,” she added.
P&O’s two new ships will be transferred from the Holland America Line.
The two will undergo major refurbishment in October this year to receive P&O traits such as specialty restaurant, Salt Grill by Luke Mangan.
They will be designed with a more upmarket feel to attract contemporary cruisers and they will sail on new itineraries.
“We’re looking at north of Australia for new itineraries and we’ve been toying with Asian itineraries for some time,” she said.
There will also be more short cruise options, with Ms Sherry revealing the line is developing its three-day wine and food sailings.
“We can see people are taking shorter holidays so we plan on grabbing more of that short cruise market,” she said.
Over the next 18 months the line will roll out imagery of the new ships and name two “fabulous godmothers” for the vessels.
Keep an eye on Cruise Passenger for more.