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When the premium Asian cruise line Dream Cruises announced it would be deploying its Oriental-styled Explorer Dream to ply Australian waters, cruisers did not know what to expect.

Explorer Dream which will be homeporting at Sydney’s White Bay Cruise Terminal from October 2019, has fares starting from as low as $286 per person for a two-night cruise from Brisbane to Sydney.

The line also has a seven-night Sydney to Auckland itinerary starting at $505 per person twin share which works out to be around $72 a night.

And when you look at it in comparison with a three-night cruise aboard the contemporary favourite Australian line, P&O Cruises priced at $361.50 per person per quad share, it seems as if a holiday aboard the Explorer Dream is a steal.

It’s an interesting entrance into the Australian cruise market, the line has taken, pricing it alongside an affordable cruise line like P&O.

For a premium ship, which has luxury finishes like an exclusive VIP area called The Palace, where guests are given butlers as well as fine dining options like a seafood eatery from celebrity chef Mark Best, is this too good to be true?

The ship, which was formerly the Superstar Virgo has been designed much like her sister ships, the Genting Dream and World Dream which sail out of Singapore and Hong Kong respectively. The ships, which are ornate and have plush décor, also have a large number of restaurants, eateries and bars.

The ships also have facilities to cater to younger families including interconnecting rooms as well as waterslides and parks. And surprisingly, for a line which is dominated mainly by the Singaporean, Chinese and Indian market, Dream Cruises believes that its local sailings will have 70 per cent of bookings from Australian and Kiwis.

“Sales have been strong so far. We saw fantastic early sales for the NZ cruises departing over Christmas and NY period, and the surrounding NZ cruise dates have also been selling well. Our Australian coastal itineraries to Queensland and Tasmania have been increasingly popular as brand recognition for Dream Cruises builds and in response to some very attractive promotional rates we recently released,” said a spokesperson.

“We’ve also recently announced some shorter sector options (2, 3, 4 and 5 night cruises) plus the option to depart from Brisbane or Newcastle. These have been very well received and the sales are going strong.”

While some fares are starting low, a seven-night round trip cruise from Sydney, visiting Port Arthur, Hobart, Melbourne and Burnie in The Palace starts at around $8,168 per person.

The line announced new cruise options for Australia’s East coast, releasing a series of short sector itineraries and a new embarkation point in Newcastle.

“We had so much interest from Newcastle consumers and trade partners. Since we released the Newcastle dates we have been inundated with enquiries and bookings, happy to have the option to cruise from their local port rather than travelling to Sydney,” said the Dream Cruises spokesperson.

Novocastrians can depart from the convenience of their local port, with two departures dates available. There is a four-night cruise departing 4 November 2019 from Newcastle to Brisbane (via Gladstone and the Sunshine Coast) and a seven-night round-trip from Newcastle on 25 November 2019, visiting Gladstone, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Sydney.

Explorer Dream will be the first of the Dream Cruises fleet to homeport in Australia (at Sydney’s White Bay Cruise Terminal), with the first departure due to set sail from Sydney on October 27, 2019.