Australia celebrated the start of cruise month this week with more ships and new itineraries – and a splash of special deals.
We will see new vessels, extended visits and more than 60 ships that will be offering itineraries around Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.
“This summer will undoubtedly be one of the busiest and most diverse cruise seasons we’ve ever experienced in Australia,” said Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia Managing Director Joel Katz.
Travel agents are responding with special Cruise Month deals during October, with savings as high as 4o per cent.
Here’s a lineup of what’s new for the 2019/20 wave season.
This season will be massive for Princess Cruises with the Ruby Princess joining Majestic Princess which has returned for her second season. Princess will also offer its Golden Princess, Sun Princess and Sea Princess. During her first local season, Ruby Princess will make 18 maiden visits to Australian and New Zealand ports.
Carnival Cruise Line
Carnival Cruise Line also welcomes a newcomer, with Carnival Splendor arriving later this year to become the newest and largest ship homeported year-round in Australia. She comes with spa suites, never seen before on Carnival ships in Australia as well as new restaurants and more. Sailing from Sydney, Carnival Splendor will join sister ship Carnival Spirit before Spirit relocates to Brisbane in October next year.
Windstar Cruises will bring its four-masted sailing ship Wind Spirit to Australia for the first-time next year, arriving in Cairns after a crossing from New Caledonia. The ship will then sail onwards through the Torres Strait and across the Top End to Darwin before heading to Indonesia.
Royal Caribbean International will bring three ships to the region this summer, including the recently refurbished Voyager of the Seas and the largest ship to operate in Australia this season, Ovation of the Seas. They will be joined by Radiance of the Seas and together will operate 61 sailings to destinations in Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Asia.
Dream Cruises will be sending the Explorer Dream for the first time. Sailing from Sydney, she’ll offer a number of Queensland coastal itineraries before sailing to New Zealand for voyages from Auckland. Explorer Dream will then return to Sydney for a series of Tasmania cruises before returning to Asia via Cairns and Darwin.
Regent Seven Seas
Regent Seven Seas will have three vessels in Australian waters this summer: Seven Seas Voyager, Seven Seas Navigator and Seven Seas Mariner. The trio will offer itineraries to local Australian ports, New Zealand, Asia and the South Pacific, with Seven Seas Mariner visiting as part of her 2020 World Cruise.
Norwegian Cruise Line and Oceania Cruises
They will be joined by visiting ships from sister brands, Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Jewel and Oceania Cruises’ Regatta, both of which will sail a variety of itineraries to ports in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.
The Australia-based P&O Cruises fleet – Pacific Explorer, Pacific Dawn and Pacific Aria – will offer an extensive season in the region, sailing from Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide as part of the line’s year-round presence. Together the ships will make a total of 202 calls to Australian ports.
Holland America Line
Holland America Line which will have three ships in local waters: Noordam, Maasdam, and Amsterdam – the latter on her world voyage. Between them, the trio will make 75 calls to ports around Australia.
Celebrity Cruises returns this year with Celebrity Solstice to offer her eighth season in local waters. The ship will visit several new destinations including Eden on NSW South Coast, Port Vila in Vanuatu and Mare in New Caledonia – a maiden call for Celebrity Cruises.
Azamara will mark its fifth local season with Azamara Journey offering a series of sailings around New Zealand, Australia and Asia. The line will introduce several new South Pacific ports of call on route to Australia, including New Plymouth and Doubtful Sound in New Zealand.
Cunard returns once more this season with Queen Elizabeth based in Australia for a record 101 days from December to March. Sister ship Queen Mary 2 will spend 18 days in local waters visiting eight ports from Darwin to Sydney and across to Fremantle as part of her 99-night world cruise.
Luxury line Seabourn also returns with several sailings aboard Seabourn Encore, which will make maiden calls to destinations including Portland in Victoria, Hobart, Adelaide and Kangaroo Island. Sister ship Seabourn Sojourn will visit as part of a world cruise, visiting six local ports including Brisbane and Airlie beach for the first time.
Small-ship luxury operator Ponant will offer an extensive program aboard its 184-passenger Le Laperouse, visiting Darwin, Cairns, Sydney and Hobart. It will also sail an expedition cruise from Hobart to Dunedin in New Zealand via the Sub Antarctic Islands before heading north for a series of Kimberley voyages between Darwin and Broome.
Silversea Cruises will offer its newest ship Silver Muse, sailing between Sydney and Auckland for a number of itineraries that include the north-east coast of Australia, New Zealand and several maiden calls in the South Pacific. It will be joined by Silver Whisper next year as part of its world cruise, which continues to Singapore via ports in Australia and Asia.
Crystal Cruises will welcome its 980-passenger Crystal Serenity to Australia as part of a world cruise of 105 nights. The luxury vessel will arrive in Sydney after a visit to New Zealand and will then sail up the East Coast via destinations including Mooloolaba, Hardy Reef, Airlie Beach, Cairns and Darwin.
MSC Cruises will welcome its MSC Magnifica in March as part of a world cruise, visiting ports including Hobart and an overnight stay in Sydney before heading north for maiden calls to Cairns and Darwin.
Coral Expeditions will offer its flagship Coral Adventurer alongside Coral Discoverer and Coral Expeditions II, operating a program of itineraries to destinations including the Great Barrier Reef, The Kimberley, Tasmania, Cape York, Arnhem Land, Papua New Guinea and New Zealand.
Other visitors to Australian waters this year include AIDA Cruises’ AIDAaura and AIDAvita, Costa Cruises’ Costa Deliziosa, Hapag Lloyd’s Bremen and Europa, and Fred Olsen Cruise Lines’ Boudicca.
Here are some of the best cruise month deals:
Save 42 per cent on Quantum of the Seas from Singapore
Sail out of Singapore aboard Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas for five nights between November 2019 and April 2021 for just $1,110 per person. Quantum is one of the latest in the fleet with sky diving and parachuting. Click here for more information.
Save 17 per cent on transatlantic crossing with Cunard
The iconic transatlantic crossing with Cunard is a must for cruisers. From Southampton in the United Kingdom, the seven-night voyage takes you across the Atlantic Ocean to New York. Travelling aboard the Queen Mary 2, passengers get to enjoy the stunning art deco vessel as well as enjoy the entertainment, dining options as well as activities onboard the Queen Mary 2. The cruise is priced from $1,149 per person, twin share and departure dates range from 2019 to 2021 sailings. Click here for more information.
Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas from $1,680
Save 10 per cent on itineraries to New Zealand and the South Pacific aboard Australia’s largest ship, Ovation of the Seas. This fantastic taster cruise takes you to the best of the South Pacific like Noumea in New Caledonia as well as Mystery Island in Vanuatu. In New Zealand, passengers will visit Auckland as well as the Bay of Islands before returning home. The cruise departs from November 23, 2019 and is priced for $1,680 per person, twin share. Click here for more information.
A South Pacific Cruise for less than $81 a night
Depart Sydney aboard the Carnival Spirit for a wonderful 12-night cruise. The cruise calls at Noumea, Mystery Island, Port Denarau, Suva and Mare before arriving back in Sydney. The cruise is priced from just $979 per person, twin share and departs on November 9, 2019. Click here for more information.
Vote in this year’s special Readers’ Choice Awards
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.