News that 1,003,256 Australian passengers cruised in 2014 stirred up excitement among passengers and cruise companies this week.
The fact that we are growing faster than America explains why, suddenly, we are getting bigger, better and younger ships homeported on our shores.
But cruise lines, now committed to hitting a target of two million by 2020, aren’t resting on their laurels.
Within hours of the announcement, two of Australia’s favourite cruise lines – P&O and Royal Caribbean – were advertising bargain prices and sales.
If the next 12 months is going to be like this, cruisers are in for a fabulous ride and the figures will continue to soar.
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It’s not just the bargains that will drive new cruisers. We’re getting more ships.
P&O will unveil its two latest vessels, Pacific Eden and Pacific Aria, later this year. Reflecting modern Australian trends, P&O is refurbishing the ships with new features, including international food market The Pantry, which will replace the traditional ship buffet, as well as a range of new bars and lounges, a cellar door and a resort-style pool area.
P&O prides itself on its short-haul ‘SeaBreaks’, which will also have a significant impact on passenger numbers.
“The more short cruises there are, the more passengers that can be taken out to sea in the same time one long-haul cruise goes out and comes back. The numbers are just going to keep growing,” explains Brett Jardine, General Manager of Cruise Lines International Association Australasia.
“Then there’s Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas, also being launched later this year,” notes Brett. “It will replace Rhapsody of the Seas and will offer accommodation for an extra 1760 guests.”
Meanwhile, 50,000 keen cruisers have already registered their interest in hopping onboard Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas.
With such growth already occurring, sources say it’ll only be a matter of time until yet another vessel hits our shores – and it’s highly likely to be a Carnival ship.
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