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Australians can expect to see a lot more of Princess Cruises in the 2016-2017 season with more ships, ports and itineraries in the region. Emerald Princess will be homeported in Sydney from November 2016 to April 2017, sailing around Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific. The ship is one of the line’s largest with more than 1,500 cabins and will be one of the youngest ships sailing in the region. She will arrive in Sydney at the end of a 48-night grand voyage from Southampton, calling at ports in Europe, the Middle East and Asia before making maiden calls at Fremantle and Melbourne.

Australia is Princess’ biggest market outside of the US with five of its 18 ships sailing here. The new season will see a record capacity of 11,800 berths in the region. Vice President Australia & New Zealand Stuart Allison said “we have been embraced by Australians who love our exciting itineraries and destinations as well as the quality cruise experience we provide, so we’re thrilled to be expanding further.”

The 2016-2017 program features 120 cruise options with 112 destinations across 39 countries and 23 new ports from Australia. One of the highlights is the first ever circumnavigation of South America, departing from Brisbane and Sydney in 2017. The Sea Princess will undertake the epic 84-night Circle South America journey in January, crossing the Pacific Ocean and stopping at New Zealand and the South Pacific en route to the continent. 19 South and Central American ports feature on the itinerary, including Easter Island, Santiago, Ushuaia, Montevideo, Barbados, Cartagena and Quito. Passengers will stay overnight at Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro and Lima to have two full days to explore these colourful cities.

Local passengers can also experience Australia’s first gourmet food and wine festival at sea when the Dawn Princess comes out of drydock in May. The Beer and Wine Garden Festival will be held twice during cruises of more than seven days with the top deck transformed into a mini festival showcasing regional beer and wine, gourmet food and live music. “We are thrilled to be debuting this exciting Australian-first cruise product on Dawn Princess and think the combination of wine tasting on the top decks and the buzz of an evening festival will really appeal to local cruisers,” said Allison.

Other features on the newly refurbished ship include a whisky menu with 56 tipples from around the world, including five from Australia; a new Italian café; and an upgraded spa with new treatment rooms and a menu featuring Kiwi treatments developed especially for the local market.