Major cruise lines had one of the best summer season yet for 2017-18 and are predicting an even more successful wave season next year. Carnival Australia had 19 ships sailing in Australia this summer.
“This cruise season was incredibly successful for us this year with 19 ships from Carnival Australia’s seven cruise lines sailing in Australian waters,’’ said Sture Myrmell, president of Carnival Australia. The seven cruise lines include P&O, Princess, Carnival, Seabourn, Cunard, Holland America and P&O World Cruising’s Arcadia.
“Looking forward to 2018-19 season, we’re excited to welcome the arrival of our fleet’s newest ship, Majestic Princess on September 15. During her inaugural Australian season, Majestic Princess will sail on 16 cruises to destinations including Fiji, New Zealand and Tasmania as well as two Asian voyages between Shanghai and Sydney and Sydney and Hong Kong,’’ he added P&O will offer a record number of cruises from Adelaide next year with Pacific Eden carrying 18,000 passengers on a record 12 cruises departing Adelaide from January to March 2019 – up from 8500 passengers in 2017.
Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth will begin her longest ever deployment Down Under, spending 54 days in Australian waters from February 2019 while Carnival Cruise Line will feature 70 sailings from Sydney and Melbourne in the 2018-19 program. Royal Caribbean remained the biggest cruise line in Sydney over the summer season, with its mega ships offering more capacity than any other line.
RCL had a total of 76 sailings in Australian waters across its three brands including Ovation of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas, Celebrity Solstice and Azamara Journey. “We’ve had an extremely healthy wave period. We’ve seen consistent bookings across the season, as even more guests realise the sooner they get in, the better. They’ve taken full advantage of our incredible once-a-year offers and have secured the cruise and cabin they want – so now it’s just a matter of counting down the days until they are onboard,’’ said Adam Armstrong, managing director RCL Cruises, Australia and New Zealand.
“2018-19 is set to be another incredible summer, with our billion dollar supercruiser, Ovation of the Seas, staying down under for her longest season yet. My predictions for next season? Expect to see the average age of guests dropping, as more and more Aussies, including millennials, join the cruising craze and test the waters with new smart-ships like Ovation.”
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings had a record breaking 2017-18 wave season with bookings far outpacing the same period last year across its three brands including NCL, Oceania and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Its four ships including Norwegian Jewel, Oceania Regatta, Regent Seven Seas Navigator and Regent Seven Seas Voyager recorded a total of 19 sailings in Australian waters this summer.
“2018 wave season has been record breaking for NCLH….We’ve been blown away by the support from trade and consumers for our three unique brand offerings,’’ said Ben Angel, NCLH Vice President Marketing Asia Pacific. He said that Norwegian Jewel will return to Australian waters for the 2018-19 summer season offering new itineraries to Eden, Cairns, Hobart, Milford Sound and Tauranga as well as sailings to South Pacific and Southeast Asia. Oceania Cruises will visit Australia for a longer season of 66 days while RSSC ships will stay in the region for 90 days.
“We anticipate the 2019 wave season will be another record-breaker for NCLH in Asia Pacific. Our ships are spending more time than ever before in local waters. We’re looking forward to continuing to grow our presence in the region,’’ Mr Angell said. A record of 350 cruise ships visited Sydney this summer, up from 344 in 2016-17.
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No doubt 2020 will go down in cruise history as the year of the pandemic – a once in a generation event. And this year’s Cruise Passenger Readers’ Choice Awards will reflect it.