Summer cruise season starts this week

Posted September 21st, 2011

The summer cruise season is set to start in Australia this week, with inaugural seasons and maiden visits by ships in the Princess, Cunard, Seabourn, Holland America and P&O World Cruising fleets.

Cabins are also still available on several cruises throughout Carnival Australia’s record season, which sees 19 ships carrying more than 310 000 passengers between 21 September and mid-April 2012.

Most of the departures are scheduled from Sydney, including two new home-ported ships, Zaandam and Sea Princess. But, other states are also preparing for a big 6 or 7 months ahead.

Leading the charge is Sun Princess, which arrives in Brisbane on Wednesday to begin Princess Cruises’ first season in the state, also marking the first time an international ship has been based on Queensland.

Jenny Lourey, senior vice president of Carnival Australia, says “Queensland is getting everything – the Queen Mary II is making maiden visits in Brisbane and Cairns, and the Queen Elizabeth is visiting Brisbane for the first time too.”

“There is something happening every day in Sydney Harbour, and people in other states will have the opportunity to see ships they've never seen before, such as the QMII, which is circumnavigating Australia” she says.

Carnival ships will make more than 300 calls to 24 different Australian ports. Lourey said an unprecedented 11 Carnival ships are offering roundtrip voyages from Australian cities, with five more ships deployed for the season alongside the six ships already based here full-time.

Another eight ships will visit Australia as part of their world cruising itineraries, including Pacific Princess and Ocean Princess; P&O’s Oriana, Aurora and Arcadia; HAL’s Amsterdam and Seabourn’s Odyssey. Dawn Princess is also offering cruises from Melbourne between 14 December 2011 and 8 April 2012.

“310 000 passengers is huge growth compared to our first season in 2004 – 05, when we had seven ships carrying a total of 103 000 passengers," said Lourey.

"It means that there has never been a better time to select a cruise - we've got something for everyone." Lourey confirmed that many cruises still have availability, especially on the P&O and Princess around Christmas, New Year, February and March.

Source: Cruise Weekly 20 September

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