Royal Caribbean’s Voyager of the Seas will not be returning to make way for the early return of Australia’s largest ship, Ovation of the Seas for the 2018/19 season.
Royal Caribbean’s managing director Adam Armstrong said Sydney’s lack of capacity has also forced Radiance of the Seas to also look at Melbourne as a new port of departure.
It is the first time in a decade a major cruise operator has cut a service.
Mr Armstrong told The Daily Telegraph, “We’ve been talking about one day Sydney will be full. The day has come.”
“Sydney will lose 65,000 guests a year from Voyager of the Seas and around $32 million in passenger spend.”
While he said it was frustrating that there was no berthing solution in Sydney, he said Melbourne’s new facilities will be able to accommodate Radiance of the Seas.
“Melbourne as a new turnaround-port for Radiance of the Seas was an easy choice for us to make. Victorians are known the world over for their love of great food so our culinary ship is the perfect fit. And in Auckland, our style of cruising is continuously growing in popularity so we’re thrilled to offer cruises from our Kiwi neighbours’ doorstep,” he said.
Carnival Australia’s Chair Ann Sherry has been lobbying the State Government to provide more space for the cruise industry by sharing Garden Island with the Royal Australian Navy.
“We are nearing crunch point where we need to find a way to unblock the stalemate in Sydney Harbour and find a way of sharing the Garden Island facility between Navy and cruising for the benefit of Sydney,” she told The Daily Telegraph.
Royal Caribbean has helped fund cruise terminals in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Barcelona, Hong Kong, Singapore and most recently announced funding for ports in Malaysia as well as the Philippines.
Explorer of the Seas will also return Down Under offering a number of itineraries to the South Pacific.
The 2018/19 season will kick off with the arrival of Radiance of the Seas to Sydney on 6 October 2018. Explorer of the Seas will return down under on 27 October 2018 and Ovation of the Seas on 2 November 2018. Together, the three ships will offer 61 sailings, ranging from three to 23-nights, sailing to nine different countries including Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, French Polynesia, Malaysia, New Caledonia, Singapore, the USA and Vanuatu.
Ovation of the Seas, as well Radiance of the Seas will primarily offer guests a range of Australia and New Zealand itineraries to ports in the North and South Island as well as Hobart. Ovation will sail exclusively from Sydney, while Radiance of the Seas will offer one new sailing from Melbourne and three from Auckland, as well as voyages from Sydney.
Ovation of the Seas will also offer one unique New Zealand and South Pacific hybrid sailing as well as eight- and nine-night South Pacific voyages to New Caledonia and Vanuatu, a 14-night Singapore to Sydney sailing via Perth, Adelaide and Hobart, a five-night Tasmania cruise and a 14-night Sydney to Singapore voyage with calls to Brisbane, Darwin and Malaysia.
As well as her New Zealand voyages from Sydney and Auckland and her new departure from Melbourne, Radiance of the Seas will also sail a range of shorter voyages perfect for first time cruises, including a three-night sampler cruise to nowhere, a new four-night cruise to Melbourne and a five-night Tasmania sailing. Guests can also cruise on eight, 10 or 12-night South Pacific sailings and two 18-night Hawaii repositioning sailings at the start and end of her season.
Explorer of the Seas will continue her focus on South Pacific voyages, with a range of eight to 14-night sailings. Her fantastic onboard amenities, including the FlowRider surf machine, rock-climbing wall, ice-skating rink, Broadway-style shows and full sized sports court, as well as the idyllic island destinations she visits, such as Fiji, New Caledonia and Vanuatu, make her the ideal family getaway destination.
She will also offer a new six-night Tasmania sailing with calls to Newcastle, Wollongong and Hobart, as well as an eight-night Queensland sailing and two epic repositioning voyages between Seattle and Sydney, with calls to Hawaii, Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia.
“We expect that local demand for Royal Caribbean’s innovative and ground breaking ships will see a fourth Royal Caribbean ship return to Australian shores in 2019/20. Our determination to remain the number one cruise line in this region is undiminished,” Armstrong concluded.