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RCI Celebrates BIGGEST Ever Month, Since Begining Operations In Australia, By Smashing Record Sales In January 2016.

Bookings for Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises smash records in January.

2016 is off to a fantastic start for RCL Cruises Australia and New Zealand with a record-breaking first month of the year. January 2016 has seen the biggest month for sales since the company opened its local offices, eight years ago. Bookings for its three brands – Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises – reached an all-time high, with an increase of 50 per cent in new bookings compared to the same period last year.

January 2016 also outperformed RCL’s previous record breaking month for bookings – June last year, when Australasia’s first ever new-build and the biggest ship to ever be based in Australia, Ovation of the Seas, went on sale – by 30 percent.  In particular, the last week in January saw Royal Caribbean International bookings almost double year-on-year.

2 Logo Royal Caribbean

 

“We said it would be a record-breaking summer and we’re excited to see booking volumes beat our own projections. Australia’s appetite for cruising with us continues on a very positive trajectory, driven by strong early booking offers and the biggest and best ships in the region,” said Adam Armstrong, regional commercial director for Asia/Pacific. 

“In response to the increasing demand, this season we introduced three new ships – Explorer of the Seas, Legend of the Seas and Azamara Quest – as well as a brand new cruise line in Azamara Club Cruises; so for the first time, we have our trifecta of three brands sailing down under. All up, that represents 20% of RCL’s worldwide fleet – a very significant number and a testament to the strength of the Australian cruising market,” Adam continued.

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Bookings on international sailings have shown substantial increases year on year; Alaska cruise bookings grew by more than 25% and Asia sailings increased by 10% when compared to the same month last year. But the most significant increase is reflected in local sailings – in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific – where bookings increased by more than 65% in January 2016 compared to January 2015, demonstrating the success of delivering Australians with the very best product on their doorstep.

Royal Caribbean’s newest and biggest megaliner, Explorer of the Seas – fresh from her US$80 million revitalization that saw her equipped with a FlowRider surf simulator – jumped to the top of the bookings table in the final week of January to became RCL’s most popular ship, taking pole position from twin sister Voyager of the Seas. Plus, positioning the two Voyager Class sisters as the South Pacific specialists next season (2016/17) is proving a hit with passengers. Together the two megaliners recorded a third of all bookings created in January – and individually both achieved the highest share of bookings for all locally based ships.

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Voyager of the Seas in Sydney

Celebrity Solstice has almost two full months remaining in her current Australian season yet she is sold out, such is the popularity for her modern style of luxury. For the best chance to sample Australia’s highest rated cruise ship – and the only Lawn Club at sea in our waters – Celebrity Solstice returns in October for her fifth summer season down under. 

celebrity solstice in melbourne 1

This summer season has seen an unprecedented seven ships from RCL brands sailing in the region, with a final ship, Celebrity Millennium, due to call in March.  The upcoming 2016/17 summer season will see a quarter of a million Australians sailing on eight RCL ships locally, including onboard the showstopping Ovation of the Seas – Australia’s very first brand new ship.

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As the newest, biggest and most technologically advanced cruise ship ever be deployed to the region, Ovation of the Seas will offer onboard features like no other ship in Australia, including the North Star viewing capsule, iFly sky diving experience, Bionic Bar with robot bar tenders, 18 different restaurants including Jamie Oliver’s, FlowRider surf machine and much more.  

Legend Of The Seas estar en CSL

Ovation of the Seas will join Explorer of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas sailing out of Sydney, while Legend of the Seas will return for her second season sailing from Brisbane. Award winning Celebrity Solstice will also return to Sydney next season offering guests an elegant and more sophisticated choice for local cruising, and Azamara Club Cruises’ second boutique ship, Azamara Journey, will make her Australian debut in February 2017, following an extensive bow-to-stern refurbishment. 

“It’s not too late to book a cruise or grab a good deal for 2016, we are offering incredible savings and deals available across all three brands, so now is a fantastic time to book your next cruise holiday. Early birds will find 2016/17 cruises are also on offer, so start planning for next summer today,” Adam concluded.

For more information or to book a cruise, visit www.royalcaribbean.com.au, www.celebritycruises.com.au or www.azamaraclubcruises.com, call 1800 754 500 or contact your travel agent. 

Information supplied by: Royal Caribbean International.

Cruise The Seas Travel And Media, Cruising Austrlia The HOME Of Australian Cruising!

Cruising In Australia Confirmed As A Dominant Force, But Lack Of Port Infrastructure Means Lost Opportunities !

The latest cruise industry economic impact study highlighting a record $3.6 billion contribution to the national economy provided stunning evidence of cruising’s long value chain, Carnival Australia Executive Chairman Ann Sherry said today.

Ms Sherry said the independent study commissioned by industry association CLIA Australasia showed cruising was on course to reach two million passengers a year by 2020 – double the industry target Carnival Australia had set – with cruise line spending in Australia already exceeding $1 billion a year.

This included a 15 per cent increase in spending for ship supplies, maintenance and repair, 12 per cent more spent on food and beverage with widespread benefit to the agriculture sector and a 17 per cent increase on shore excursions supporting tourism operators and jobs growth.

“Carnival Australia cruise brands have contributed significantly to the increase in the number of ships home ported in Australia, which has helped drive the big increase in purchasing from local suppliers especially in the food and beverage area,” Ms Sherry said.

“The expansion of the home brand P&O Cruises’ fleet, with the addition of Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden, has played a big part in this and also in the increase in the number of regional destinations now regularly hosting cruise ship visits.”

Ms Sherry said the study also highlighted the ‘lost opportunity’ cost of fewer international cruise tourists visiting Australia due to port capacity constraints linked to availability of berths and the ability to handle larger capacity cruise ships.

In 2014-15, the period covered by the study, this lost opportunity was estimated at $7 million but Ms Sherry said that in the absence of port facility improvements this could become more than $35 million in lost opportunity over the next five years.

Pointing to regional performance, the study confirmed that while NSW continued to dominate in cruise-related economic activity, its share had fallen from 73 per cent in 2013 to 67 per cent in 2014-15. 

“Separate to the study we now know that NSW authorities underestimated the potential growth of cruising and the need for port facility improvement to accommodate its strong growth as outlined in the new study,” Ms Sherry said.

“According to their forecasts, it would be 2030 before Sydney could expect to see 445 cruise ship calls a year but we now know that this level will be achieved by next year based on current bookings, highlighting the urgent need to solve port constraints in Sydney Harbour.”

Information supplied by: Carnival Australia.

Cruise The Seas Travel And Media, Cruising Australia The HOME Of Australian Cruising!

 Cruise Ship Activity In Australia Drives Industry’s Economic Value To New Highs.

The value of cruising in Australia is continuing to surge, with a new report showing that swelling cruise passenger numbers and an increase in homeported ships helped to drive the industry’s economic contribution to a record $3.6 billion in 2014-15.

Commissioned by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia, the independent report reveals that the economic value of cruising has risen an impressive 11.6 per cent since 2013, when CLIA’s first economic report recorded an industry contribution of $3.2 billion.

According to the “Contribution of Cruise Tourism to the Australian Economy in 2014-15” report, the number of calls by homeported ships increased by 8.3 per cent in the 2014-15 financial year, compared to the previous year, helping to boost cruise line expenditure by 11 per cent. 

Also fuelling growth was a 10.3 per cent rise in passenger capacity on homeported ships and an 8.8 per cent increase in capacity on visiting ships, reflecting the increasing size of cruise ships in local waters.

However, in its executive summary of the report CLIA notes that capacity constraints remain a barrier to future growth, particularly in Sydney.

During 2014-15, passenger and crew visit days grew by 8.8 per cent across the country. However NSW experienced only 0.4 per cent growth compared to almost 56 per cent in Western Australia, 27.4 per cent in Victoria and 16.4 per cent in Queensland.   NSW’s share of the overall economic contribution slipped from 73 per cent in 2013 to 68 per cent in 2014-15.

Capacity constraints have also limited the number of visiting international ships, prompting a 10 per cent decline in international passenger visit days in 2014-15, representing a lost opportunity to the Australian economy of close to $7 million according to the summary.

Prepared for CLIA by Business Research and Economic Advisers (BREA),  the report found overall passenger expenditure grew by 12.5 per cent to $814 million in  2014-15, driven by the increase in passenger days as well as a 3.4 per cent rise in average passenger spend per day to $384.  

International passengers spent an average of $700 a day in a home port compared to $181 in a transit port, while domestic passengers spent an average $483 a day in a home port and $151 in a transit port.

Releasing the report today, CLIA Australasia Managing Director Neil Linwood said it provided a valuable insight into the industry’s growth and future.

“This report not only captures the impressive growth of the cruise industry, it also records the shifting structure of the industry as capacity constraints start to bite,” Mr Linwood said.

“We believe it provides further proof of the value of our industry and demonstrates the benefits which can flow to communities that embrace cruising.”

Key findings of the 2014-15 report include:

* Cruising generated $3.6 billion in economic value in the 2014-15 financial year – up 11.6 per cent on the 2013 figure of $3.2 billion

* Cruise line expenditure rose 11 per cent to $1.069 billion in 2014-15. This included a 20 per cent rise in travel agent commissions to $145 million

* Passenger expenditure rose 12.5 per cent to $814 million

* Cruising accounted for 15,217 jobs in 2014-15

* Passenger/crew visits days rose 8.8 per cent (up 11.5 per cent for passengers visiting Australian ports on homeported ships and 4.1 per cent for passengers visiting on transiting ships) 

* Overall cruise ship visit days increase only 1.7 per cent but average ship capacity rose 10.3 per cent for homeported ships and 8.8 per cent for transit ships

* Homeported ship calls rose 8.3 per cent while transit port calls fell 4.3 per cent

* NSW remained the dominant state accounting for 68 per cent of the overall economic contribution

* Across Australia, homeported passengers spent an average of just over $505 per visit day while transit passengers spent an average of $160 per visit day.

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State Breakdown for 2014-15

NSW

* NSW had the highest number of cruise visit days (296) accounting for 35 per cent of cruise visit days nationally

* NSW passenger visit days totaled 1.09 million - 51 per cent of passenger visit days in Australia 

* Cruise visit days declined by 13 from 2013 due to fewer ships with overnight stays in Sydney.

* Direct cruise tourism expenditure in NSW equalled $1.29 billion – 68 per cent of the total national expenditure

* NSW expenditure included $748 million by cruise lines, $530 million by passengers and $14.6 million by crew 

* International homeport passengers in Sydney spent $740 a day while domestic home port passengers spent $480 a day 

* International transit passengers in Sydney spent $220 a day while domestic transit passengers spent $150 a day

* On average, international passengers spent 2.4 nights in Sydney prior to their cruise while domestic passengers spent an average of 1.4 nights

Queensland

* Queensland had 253 cruise visit days (30 per cent of the national total) and 486,096 passenger visit days (23 per cent of national numbers)

* Brisbane accounted for 16 per cent of homeport passenger days across Australia in 2014-15.

* Cairns and Airlie Beach feature as transit ports and had very similar totals for passenger and crew visit days. Combined, the two ports had 122,511 passenger visit days and 23,902 crew visit days. These two destinations accounted for 46 per cent of the transit passenger visit days throughout Queensland

* Domestic homeported passengers in Brisbane spent an average of $448 per day while international passengers spent $518 

* Domestic transit passengers spent $235 while international passengers spent $208  

* In Cairns, domestic transit passengers spent an average of $186 a day in Cairns while international transit passengers spent $345 a day – once again the highest daily spend by international transit passengers nationally.

Victoria 

* Victorian ports experienced an increase of 13 cruise ship visit days from 77 in 2013 to 90 in 2014. 

* Total passenger visit days rose by 27 per cent to 186,719 days (about 8.5 per cent of the national total)

* Transit passengers accounted for 60 per cent of total passenger visit days across all Victoria ports and rose 6 per cent on 2013 figures

* Melbourne is the third largest of the cruise home ports in Australia, and is predominantly a transit port with a total of 177,258 passenger visit days, an increase of 21 per cent from 2013.

* Melbourne experienced relatively significant growth in its homeport activity with an 80 per cent increase in homeported passengers. This growth is as a result of Melbourne becoming a homeport alternative to capacity-constrained Sydney during the peak cruise season.

* Domestic homeported passengers in Melbourne spent $541 per day while international passengers spent $615. Meanwhile domestic transit passengers spent $161 while international passengers spent $165

Western Australia

* The ports of Western Australia generated 101 cruise visit days, an increase of 25 from 2013,  and 161,695 passenger visit days, an increase of 56 per cent over 2013

* As a result, Western Australia ports accounted for 12 per cent of total cruise visit days and 7.6 per cent of total passenger visit days throughout Australia

* Fremantle’s homeport activity increased significantly as cruise lines continue to look for new homeports and destinations. Homeport passenger numbers grew by almost 300 per cent from 2013.

* The increase in homeport activity drove a 100 per cent increase in cruise line expenditure together with significant increases in passenger and crew expenditure

* Domestic homeported passengers in Fremantle spent an average of $658 per day and homeported international guests spent $564 a day

* Domestic transit passengers spent $113 while international passengers spent $150  

Tasmania

* With Tasmanian ports featuring solely as transit ports, the State’s 49 cruise visit days accounted for 5.8 per cent of the nation’s cruise days

* Meanwhile its 93,000 passenger visit days represented 5.5 per cent of the national total

* Hobart dominated cruise calls to Tasmania, accounting for 75 per cent of cruise visit days with 37 days

* Domestic passengers visiting Hobart spent $116 per day while international passengers averaged $167 a day

South Australia

* South Australia had 31 cruise visit days and 59,556 total passenger days. 

* Domestic passengers spent an average of $141 per day while international passengers averaged $158 a day

Northern Territory

* The NT had 29 cruise visit days and 47,339 total passenger days 

* International passengers spent an average of $265 during their transit visits to Darwin while domestic passengers spent an average of $131. 

For a full report from CLIA click on this link: CLIA-EIS-Report-2014-15-Summary.pdf

 

Informaion supplied by : Cruise Lines International Association Of Australasia. [ CLIA ].

Cruise The Seas Travel And Media, Cruising Austrlia The HOME Of Australian Cruising!

Princess Cruises’ Set To Showcase Australia's Finest Whisky's At Sea.

Princess Cruises is continuing its voyage through the world of whisky, extending its onboard experience of the premium spirit in dedicated bars and menus across the fleet and releasing a new video featuring fine Australian whisky. 

Presented by Princess Cruises ‘whisky ambassador’ Peter Stevens, the new video comes as a chaser to the cruise line’s first online offering which announced the new whisky menu, featuring more than 60 premium whiskies from around the world. 

Dawn Princess Whisky Bar selection email

The latest video release follows the debut of a second dedicated whisky bar on an Australian-based ship with ‘The Nook’ now open on Sea Princess. Princess’ first whisky bar opened on Dawn Princess last June, while the full whisky menu is available in bars on Emerald Princess and Golden Princess which also cruise local waters.  

The popularity of Princess Cruises’ whisky menu across its Australian fleet reflects the growing trend for intimate, specialist whisky bars onshore, giving guests the opportunity to taste whiskies from the world’s best producers, and learn more about the premium beverage from knowledgeable bar staff. 

Dawn Princess Whisky Bar serving email

In the new video, Peter Stevens explains the benefits of the Australian climate in producing world-class whiskies, with environmental elements creating distinct flavours and variations in temperature allowing faster maturation. 

Three Australian whiskies available on the menu are also profiled in the video; Lark’s Classic Malt from Tasmania, Bakery Hill Single Malt from Victoria and Limeburner’s Single Malt from Albany in Western Australia. 

The Nook Whisky Bar

To learn more about Whisky At Princess Cruises' The NOOK Whisky Bar click here : https://youtu.be/_zmUZVKqyh0

Princess Cruises Vice President Australia & New Zealand Stuart Allison said the cruise line was thrilled to see the popularity of its premium whisky bars and menus with its passengers.  

“A cruise holiday offers time to relax as well as time to discover new things, so a cruise is the perfect opportunity to relax with a fine dram of whisky from the world’s best distilleries and also to learn a little about whisky along the way,” Mr Allison said. 

Fares on Sea Princess start from $1,699* per person twin share for a 12-night Treasures of Asia cruise departing Fremantle September 14, 2016.

For more information, visit www.princess.com, call 13 24 88 or see a licensed travel agent.

*Subject to availability. Terms and conditions apply. Fares are in AUD on a per person, twin share basis. 

Information supplied by: Prioncess Cruises.

Cruise The Seas Travel And Media, Cruising Australia The HOME Of Australian Cruising!

P&O Australia Serges Ahead With The Demand For Corporate Events At Sea Following Fleet Expansion.

P&O Cruises has reported a surge in corporate event bookings since the launch of its two latest ships last November, including a marked increase in incentive groups. 

P&O’s forward bookings for 2016 already exceed the total it achieved in 2015, putting its target of 12,000 delegates for this year well within reach.

Pacific Eden Kangaroo Island maiden call

Following recent announcements that a further two cruise ships will join its fleet in 2017 and 2019, P&O is forecasting more growth next year and beyond.

Speaking at the Asia-Pacific Incentives and Meetings Expo (AIME) in Melbourne today, P&O Director of Sales Ryan Taibel said the cruise line had been delighted by the strong response to the launch of its new corporate events offering last February.

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“Bookings rose solidly throughout 2015 following the launch, and once Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden joined our existing three-ship fleet in November we saw a further surge in interest,” Mr Taibel said.

Mr Taibel said while 60 per cent of delegates in 2015 and 2016 had been onboard for meetings, the remaining 40 per cent were part of incentive groups. The cruise line has also seen rising interest in charter bookings.

Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden Angelos Bar 1280x557

"With their stylish, modern Australian look and feel, our two latest ships, Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden, have clearly caught the eye of incentive planners as well as meeting organisers and made them think about cruising as an enticing reward.

“It seems there is a real appetite for an incentive with a difference, so our seven-night cruises from ports such as Singapore and Cairns and our shorter Main Event cruises, incorporating experiences like the Australian Open and the Melbourne Cup, are generating strong interest among incentive planners,” Mr Taibel said.

Pacific Pearl in Melbourne for the Aus Open

Meanwhile, P&O’s extensive range of itineraries is also attracting organisers.

“Thanks to our fleet expansion, P&O now has an unprecedented range of itineraries sailing from ports around the country. So whether you are planning a three-day meeting at sea sailing from Sydney or Fremantle, or a one-week incentive cruise to the exotic islands of Papua New Guinea from Cairns, there are some exciting options available,” Mr Taibel said.

Mr Taibel said that while 98 per cent of companies chose itineraries from Sydney and Brisbane in 2015, in 2016, 30 per cent of clients had selected cruise itineraries from P&O's other ports – Melbourne, Adelaide, Fremantle, Cairns, Auckland and Singapore.

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Mr Taibel said Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden accounted for 70 per cent of delegate bookings in 2016 and 2017.  

“We are expecting similar enthusiasm for the next two ships to join our fleet - Pacific Explorer, which will debut in May 2017, and P&Os first new build, a 135,500-tonne ship designed exclusively for the Australian market, which will be launched in 2019. 

“These two ships will be part of the continued evolution of the P&O brand and will offer a range of exciting new features which will no doubt appeal to the corporate events market,” Mr Taibel said.

Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden Ocean Bar 1280x618

According to Mr Taibel, value remains a key attraction, with an event at sea costing about $325 a day – far less than a comparable event on land.

“Organisers are very excited when they see the numbers. Not only is the cruise fare all inclusive – covering meeting space, accommodation, main meals and entertainment – an event at sea is incredibly easy to organise. Everyone is on the ship, so there’s no time wasted or hassle involved with travelling between different venues and locations.”

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Mr Taibel said bookings had come from a range of industries, with clients including companies from the retail, pharmaceutical, manufacturing and association sectors as well as franchisee and marketing networks.

He said P&O intended to build on its corporate meetings activity in 2016 with a series of special showcases in ports around Australia to enable organisers to see the cruise line’s latest ships firsthand.

For more information call 1300 366 168, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.pocruises.com.au/experiences/groups/corporate

Information supplied by: P&O Cruises Australia.

Cruise The Seas Travel And Media, Cruising Australia The HOME Of Australian Cruising!

Cunard Line’s Magnificant Queen Elizabeth Steals The Limelight When Sailing Into Newcastle For Her Maiden Visit.

Queen Elizabeth – the youngest of Cunard Line’s three magnificent Queens – sailed into Newcastle today on her maiden visit to a booming three-gun salute from the city’s historic Fort Scratchley. The ship’s 2000 passengers – including more than 1100 Australian and New Zealander guests – and the entire ship’s company received the warmest of Novocastrian welcomes with a civic welcome hosted by Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes.

Boasting 12 passenger decks, the 90,900-tonne Queen Elizabeth is the first Cunard ship to visit Newcastle for more than a century. According to shipping records, the last Cunard passenger liner to visit Newcastle was the Caronia in 1907.

With a special honour guard from RAAF Williamtown harking back to Cunard’s historic connections to the Hunter, Cr Nelmes presented Queen Elizabeth’s Hotel General Manager Naomi McFerran with the ‘Key to the City’ of Newcastle.

“I am delighted to welcome Queen Elizabeth and the Key to the City on a day that celebrates Newcastle's bright future and proud maritime past," Cr Nelmes said. "Cruise ships bring more than 18,000 visitors to Newcastle each year, delivering international and domestic visitors to our pristine beaches and cultural attractions and generating around $11 million for the local economy,” she said. "We hope the guests on board Queen Elizabeth have a great time as they enjoy historical walks of the city, tour the Hunter Valley vineyards and enjoy dolphin-watching tours in Port Stephens.”

Cunards Queen Elizabeth Arrives in Newcastle to a Three Gun Salute

Carnival Australia Executive Chairman Ann Sherry said Queen Elizabeth's visit to Newcastle demonstrated the economic value cruising delivers to regional Australia.

“Today’s visit alone will inject around half a million dollars into the local economy so it’s great to see a region like Newcastle benefit from the remarkable growth of cruise tourism,” Ms Sherry said. 

Newscastles Civic Welcome for Cunards Queen Elizabeth

Queen Elizabeth’s Captain Alastair Clark said maiden visits to new destinations were always special and thanked Newcastle for the warmth of the community’s welcome, which also highlighted the ship’s wartime connection to the Hunter when airmen from 450 RAAF Squadron based at Williamtown sailed from Sydney in April 1941 for the Middle East on the original Queen Elizabeth. A commemorative service for 450 Squadron was held onboard Queen Elizabeth during its day in Newcastle.

“Maiden visits are always special occasions on our world voyages and Queen Elizabeth's visit to Newcastle has been eagerly anticipated,” Captain Clark said.

“We have been simply overwhelmed by the warmth of the welcome in particular the singular honour of being presented with the key to the city of Newcastle.

“As our guests return to the ship later in the day I am looking forward to speaking to them about all the exciting things they have seen and done during their stay in Newcastle,” he said.

Built at an estimated total cost of more than US$630 million, Queen Elizabeth is the second largest Cunarder to sail the world’s oceans. Launched in the United Kingdom in October 2010 by Her Majesty The Queen, Queen Elizabeth pays homage to Cunard’s original Queen Elizabeth, offering a raft of famous Cunard hallmarks plus some new ones.

Her many features include more than 700 private balcony staterooms, more than 10 restaurants and cafes and a Games Deck featuring paddle tennis, croquet and bowls. Queen Elizabeth also offers a two-storey library complete with a unique leaded glass ceiling and around 6000 books, as well as a two-storey Queen’s Room ballroom and a three-deck Royal Court Theatre seating 800 guests and offering private boxes.

Queen Elizabeth will return to Australia in 2017, with her 120-night world voyage including a Royal Rendezvous with big sister Queen Mary 2 during the liners’ visit to Sydney on February 25.  While in Australia, the liner will remain overnight in Sydney (February 25-26) and also call at Brisbane (February 28) and Yorkey’s Knob off Cairns (March 3).

A video of Queen Elizabeth’s arrival in Newcastle is available here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/jcvs2e4gq5og44b/AAAF8KPPQuDU0XM-W5ItpPlAa?dl=0

For more details on Cunard visit www.cunard.com

Information supplied by: Cunard Line.

Cruise The Seas Travel And Media, Cruising Australia The HOME Of Australian Cruising!

P&O Cruises Australia Marks A New ERA In Cruising, With A Historic 17 Maiden Calls In 2016.

P&O Cruises is maintaining its reputation as a cruise pioneer in local waters, making its maiden call to the remote town of Wewak in Papua New Guinea today – the first of 17 inaugural calls to an array of new ports this year following the expansion of the cruise line’s fleet.

Guests on Pacific Aria were part of history when they stepped ashore in Wewak, with the cruise ship becoming the first to ever call at the colourful capital of the East Sepik province, located on the famous Sepik River.

The maiden calls continue P&O’s longstanding journey of discovery in Australia and the Pacific, which has seen the cruise line drive the growth of the local cruise industry by adding an array of exciting and exotic destinations to the cruise map. In recent years, close to a dozen new Australian ports have been introduced to P&O’s itineraries, delivering substantial benefits to regional communities around the country.

Next month, P&O will be charting a new course in New Zealand with Pacific Pearl making the cruise line’s first call to the remote Stewart Island at the bottom of the South Island on March 6.

Then within days, P&O will be making waves in Queensland when Pacific Dawn becomes the first cruise ship to visit the port of Gladstone on March 10, opening up an exciting new base for Southern Barrier Reef adventures.

The visit will be followed by more excitement on April 3, when Pacific Aria becomes the first P&O ship to visit to the World Heritage-listed Fraser Island, the world's largest sand island located off the southern Queensland coast.

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P&O Cruises President Sture Myrmell said the continued expansion of P&O’s fleet had opened up new horizons for the cruise line.

“We have been pioneering cruising in the Pacific for more than 80 years and we are still discovering fantastic cruise destinations for our guests,” Mr Myrmell said.

“The addition of Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden to our fleet late last year and our continued expansion with Pacific Explorer in 2017 and our newbuild in 2019, has made it possible to extend our itinerary offering like never before and build a wide range of new destinations into our schedules.

“In some cases these are not just maiden visits for P&O, they are the first visits by any cruise line, so it’s a very exciting time for us and a great honour to be welcomed so enthusiastically by local communities.”

In June, Pacific Jewel will be the first cruise ship to call at one of the most remote island groups in the world – the privately-owned Conflict Islands in Papua New Guinea.

Cape Wom Memorial Park Site of the Surrender of the Japanese Imperial Forces during World War 2 in WeWak Papua New Guinea

Meanwhile Pacific Eden will make a string of maiden calls across Asia and the Pacific between May and October as part of its inaugural Singapore and Cairns seasons.

With its boutique size making it ideal to cruise to smaller islands, Pacific Eden will become the first cruise ship to ever visit Ko Chang in Thailand and Gizo Island in the Solomon Islands.

Other maiden calls for P&O on Pacific Eden’s itineraries include Sabang, Ujung Pandang, Jakarta and the fascinating volcano port of Probolinggo in Indonesia; Langkawi in Malaysia; Phuket, Krabi and Koh Samui in Thailand; Cambodia’s Sihanoukville and Honiara in the Solomon Islands.

P&O Australia’s Maiden Calls – 2016  

1. Monday February 22 – Pacific Aria – Wewak, PNG*

2. Sunday March 6 – Pacific Pearl – Stewart Island, New Zealand

3. Thursday March 10 – Pacific Dawn – Gladstone, Queensland*

4. Sunday April 3 – Pacific Aria – Fraser Island, Queensland

5. Saturday May 7 – Pacific Eden – Ujung Pandang, Indonesia

6. Monday May 9 – Pacific Eden – Probolinggo, Indonesia

7. Tuesday June 21 – Pacific Jewel – Conflict Islands, PNG*

8. Thursday July 28 – Pacific Eden – Jakarta, Indonesia

9. Monday August 1 – Pacific Eden – Langkawi, Malaysia

10. Tuesday August 2 – Pacific Eden – Krabi, Thailand

11. Wednesday August 3 – Pacific Eden – Phuket, Thailand

12. Thursday August 4 – Pacific Eden – Sabang, Indonesia

13. Monday August 8 – Pacific Eden – Sihanoukville, Cambodia

14. Tuesday August 9 – Pacific Eden – Ko Chang, Thailand*

15. Thursday August 11 – Pacific Eden – Koh Samui, Thailand

16. Friday September 30 – Pacific Eden – Gizo Island, Solomon Islands*

17. Saturday October 1 – Pacific Eden – Honiara, Solomon Islands    

*first ever ocean cruise ship call to destination

Information supplied by: P&O Cruises Australia.

Cruise The Seas Travel And Media, Cruising Australia The HOME Of Australian Cruising!

Australian Cruise Industry Celebrates A Memorable Night, At The Sophisticated   CLIA Annual Awards Night !

More than 500 industry members from across Australia and New Zealand joined Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia in celebrating a massive year of cruising at the 15th Annual Cruise Industry Awards at The Star Event Centre in Sydney on Saturday.

The sell-out gala featured a show-stopping performance by one of Australia’s leading performers, Tina Arena, on a night which saw a total of 19 winners announced across nine categories.

Leading the pack was Western Australia’s Bicton Travel which won the Gold Agency of the Year award for the fifth time. 

In accepting the agency’s fifth top gong in six years, Bicton founder Carole Smethurst thanked the agency’s cruise line partners for their “fantastic support” as well as her team of 24 staff.

CLIA winners

“It’s an absolute honour to win this, but to win it five times is absolutely incredible,” Ms Smethurst said.

Travelrite International took out the Silver Award while King William Travel won Bronze. 

Clean Cruising received the Online Agency of the Year award, while MTA’s Tracey Flower was recognised as Australia’s Mobile Agent of the Year.

Meanwhile Scenic Founder Glen Moroney was welcomed into the CLIA Hall of Fame for his pioneering work in the rapidly growing river cruise sector. Accepting the award on Mr Moroney’s behalf, Scenic General Manager of Product Aleisha Fittler said Mr Moroney was known for his innovation.

“He is constantly driven to create the next big thing,” Ms Fittler said.

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CLIA Australasia Chairman Gavin Smith said the 2015 awards dinner had been the best yet, with finalists and winners being recognised from right around Australia and New Zealand. 

“Every year cruising in the Australasian region continues to evolve and it’s due to the tireless efforts of many in the industry. These awards are all about celebrating and applauding the hard work, passion and dedication of some of the most important players in the cruise industry – the travel agents who sell our cruises,” Mr Smith said.

The annual cruising night of nights was hosted again by Channel 7 sportscaster and host of AFL Game Day Hamish McLachlan.

For a full list of winners please see the following page. For more information visit: www.cruising.org.au

Information supplied by: Cruise Lines International Association Of Australasia. [ CLIA ].

Australia Your NEW Ship Is Almost Ready ! She's Now Floating On Water !

Ovation of the Seas is a step closer to completion, emerging from the dry dock and floating on water !

Ovation of the Seas, the third largest cruise ship in the world and the biggest, newest and most technologically advanced ship ever to call Australia home, has been floated out of the construction hall and into water at the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. 

This major milestone signifies the ship has reached the final stages of construction – marking less than two months to completion and only 10 months until she arrives in Australia.  The 168,666-GRT megaliner has taken just 18 months of construction to reach this point.

Overnight, the shipyard’s sluice gates were opened and the dry dock commenced filling with water to float Ovation of the Seas out into the River Ems: a slow and careful process that takes up to 8 hours. Then during the day, tugboats maneuverer the ship to the shipyard’s outdoor berth where she will undergo further construction, including attaching masts and funnels and the installation of many of the furnishings.  A final dry-dock visit will see her propulsion parts installed.

“Today marks a truly momentous milestone in the Australian cruise industry: our first ever newbuild now floats on water for the very first time. In just 10 months she will call Sydney home and proudly claim the title of the newest, largest and most technologically advanced cruise ship to ever sail in our waters,” said Adam Armstrong, regional commercial director, Royal Caribbean.

“This is a significant day for both Royal Caribbean and for Australia, as we celebrate the birth of our new $1 billion baby. Ovation of the Seas has been purpose-built for the Asia-Pacific region and continues Royal Caribbean’s unique strategy of bringing the very best cruise ships to Australia. We’re extremely excited that she is now in the water and look forward to welcoming her to Sydney Harbour.”

When she debuts in April, Ovation of the Seas will claim the title of equal third largest cruise ship in the world – eclipsed only by Royal Caribbean’s twin ships Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas.  She is the third ship in the ground-breaking Quantum Class and introduces a new set of first-at-sea onboard experiences to Australia including the Ripcord by iFLY, a heart-pounding skydiving experience; North Star, a thrilling adventure that will transport guests as high as the Sydney Harbour Bridge; cutting-edge transformative venues including SeaPlex, the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea with bumper cars, a circus school and more; and the robotic Bionic Bar. 

Ovation has also reimagined dining onboard with the introduction of “Dynamic Dining” where guests can choose from 18 unique restaurant concepts, including Jamie’s Italian, Michael’s Genuine Pub, the enchanting Wonderland and Royal Caribbean favourites including Chops Grille steakhouse and Izumi Japanese. 

Technology has also been amped up on Ovation of the Seas with high speed internet offering more bandwidth so guests can connect and stream as quickly as they would onshore, while the Royal iQ app makes keeping track of your onboard schedule simple with all bookings and cruise details stored and updated automatically.

Ovation of the Seas float out 190216 6 1

Ovation of the Seas will sail from Southampton in April before repositioning from Europe via Dubai and Singapore to arrive in Beijing (Tianjin) for her inaugural China season commencing 24 June 2016. On 30 November 2016, she will set sail on a 15-night Singapore to Sydney voyage via Fremantle, repositioning to her new home down under where she will offer three Australia and New Zealand cruises as well as a repositioning sailing on her return to Singapore, departing Sydney 23 January 2017.

For further information or to make a booking, visit www.ovationoftheseas.com.au, phone 1800 754 500 or see your local travel agent.

Information supplied by: Royal Caribbean International.

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Royal Caribbean International Celebrates Today With 200,000 Facebook fans.

Royal Caribbean is marking a significant milestone today, reaching 200,000 Facebook fans of the official Royal Caribbean International Australia & NZ page, and to celebrate the cruise line is giving Facebook fans an exclusive AUD$200 discount per stateroom, which they can use on local 2016/17 sailings of five nights or longer when booked before 26 February 2016.

In the last six months alone, the number of fans has doubled, demonstrating the growing popularity of Royal Caribbean’s international style of cruising as the line’s local fleet has expanded to four megaliners, including two new ships in Explorer of the Seas and Legend of the Seas.

“This milestone is all about you: our Facebook friends and fans. You’re the true champions of our brand, and we couldn’t be where we are today without your support”, said Adam Armstrong, commercial director, Royal Caribbean International Australia. 

“In return, we want to thank you wholeheartedly by offering you a AUD$200 discount on your next cruise. You’ve helped guide our journey so far, and we hope you’ll be part of the next chapter for Royal Caribbean in Australia,” he continued.

RCI Facebook 200k Milestone

“Plus: if you look closely, you might just spot your profile photo in our specially created graphic, that honours many of our Aussie and Kiwi fans,” he concluded.

Launched in just 2012, the Royal Caribbean International Australia & NZ Facebook page has been one of the first touchpoints with the cruise line for many cruising fans. Royal’s Facebook fans are among the first to receive details of cruising news, promotions, updates and are regularly rewarded with competitions and exclusive offers. 

Over the years, Royal Caribbean has given away multiple sailings to Facebook fans, including hosting 100 fans onboard Voyager of the Seas in 2014 for the world’s first Facebook Party at Sea with pop sensation Nathaniel. Last year, to celebrate Royal Caribbean’s partnership with My Kitchen Rules, 10 friends were exclusively hosted to a special curated meal and cocktail party with the MKR winners onboard Royal’s first Queensland based ship, Legend of the Seas. And more recently, this month Royal Caribbean gave away a cruise for two on the biggest, newest and most incredible cruise ship to ever be deployed to Australia, Ovation of the Seas. 

Become a fan today to be the first to hear Royal Caribbean news and updates, and claim your $200 discount voucher; applicable per stateroom the voucher can be used on local 2016/17 sailings of five nights or longer when booked before 26 February 2016. Visit www.Facebook.com/RCIAustraliaAndNZ

Information supplied by : Royal Caribbean International.

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Ponant Yacht Cruises & Expeditions Vice President Of Australasia  Monique Ponfoort Speaks Out On What The Ponant Brand Has To Offer To Australians.

 

With Four Of The World’s Most Luxurious Ships Visiting  Sydney yesterday, and as Two Berth At The Same Terminal For The First Time.

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Sydney enjoyed an extra touch of class with four of the world’s most luxurious ships, from four of the worlds most luxurious cruise lines berthed in the city’s stunning harbour.

Sydney celebrated in style, with a sophisticated cruising Saturday.

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Australian Cruising News.com.au was On Board Ponants'  Le Soleal to capture all the action, and sat down with the Vice President of Australasia for Ponant Yacht Cruises & Expeditions, Monique Ponfoort.

We asked the questions to Monique about what Ponant Yacht Cruises & Expeditions has to offer to Australians.

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1. What does Ponant want to achieve in the Australian and New Zealand cruise market, do you see Australian and New Zealand passengers being the bread and butter of Ponant's business in the future due to the boon in the cruise industry here in Australia and New Zealand ??

PONANT has a very strong international business and underpinning charter business from numerous markets around the world.  Undoubtable Aust/NZ have become very important in the success for the company. 

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2. Australian's are more of a relaxed bunch of cruise passengers , how does Ponant plan to market them selves to that kind of passenger/s ??

Ponant’s modern ships are stylish and chic in both design and appearance however the French way of life fits comfortably with our Australian laid back style - in fact feedback from staff onboard indicates Australian’s feel at ease immediately they board. Internationally and in Australia/NZ, the Ponant brand attracts well-travelled passengers who are familiar with, and enjoy, European culture - like-minded people who seek a level of luxury and comfort balanced with the stimulation of visiting exciting and often hard to reach places. Interested in expanding their minds, as well as enjoying indulgent comforts, Ponant fits easily into their expectations. 
 

Savoir-faire. Explore fascinating destinations by day and sip Champagne at night - a great way to meet new friends. Whether you are Australian, French, German, English or North American a commonality of attitude and expectation creates an easy atmosphere onboard. We market to Australians and New Zealanders by showing the ships, exampling onboard ambiance (especially the food and wine) - a relaxed yet chic environment. 

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3. What are Ponants' key strenghts in adapting to the Australian's and New Zealander's cruise market ??

Not everyone wants to sail on very large vessels and travel thousands of people. Our ships, the most modern fleet in the world, are compact - small by comparison to the mega-liners - carrying just 240 or so guests. This creates an intimate private yacht experience sought by many; more personal and involving. Ultimately, we think, more enjoyable and satisfying. The ships size belie their facilities - 95% of all suites and staterooms have a private balcony, there is a Sothys Spa, boutique, a heated swimming pool (perfect for the polar regions), well equipped gym, choice of dining venues and, of course, on expedition cruises, our 12 Zodiacs allow our guest to get up close and personal with remote areas and magnificent wildlife.

 

Many of the voyages in this part of the world will be designated ‘expeditions’ which means we will have an Australian expedition team onboard to supplement the French and other crew nationalities. The ship’s crew are bilingual.

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4. What percentage of Australian's and New Zealander's cruise with Ponant ??

 This varies by destination and voyage.  Needless to say some destinations closer to Australia we will be the dominant nationality onboard whilst in Europe Europeans will be the dominant nationality.  
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5. With Silversea and others beginning to bring their expedition ships here in Australia, does Ponant see a move to wanting to base one of it's ships here on a more permanent basis ??

 We have already announced that we are bringing L’Austral to the Kimberley in 2017 for seven voyages.   Given the huge demand from Australians it is likely we will increase our presence. 
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6. What makes Ponant so special separating them selves from everyone else, and what are the main things that Australian's and New Zealander's can expect from stepping on board a Ponant yacht cruises & expedition's ship ??

The French Touch is immediately apparent. This is a theme that runs throughout the company. From the welcome onboard by the Captain and staff, to the ship’s boutique, hotel style interiors designed by French interior architect - designer Jean-Philippe Nuel,  to the fashion labels on sale in the boutique and inclusive wines and spirits, this attention to detail is paramount to Ponant’s philosophy. 
 

Certainly the officers and senior crew are predominantly French - but not to the exclusion of other nationalities. For example, in these waters, we have an Australian expedition team onboard as they have more expertise in local destinations. Invariably there are Australian and New Zealand wines onboard (as well as wines from South America and North America), and while the meals have French basis (and why not?), our chefs incorporate local produce and flavours into the menu to reflect the regionality. 

 

As Ponant's four sister ships are virtually identical it means that our guests can select a voyage anywhere in the world and the ship they travel on will be a virtual identikit of the other ships. This means consistency of hardware no one else can offer. Additionally, for traditional sailors, we offer a classic three masted yacht experience as well. Perfect for the Caribbean, or circumnavigation of the islands of the Mediterranean.   A strong feature of our ships is that they can morph between a luxury expedition operator to remote destinations like the Artic and Antarctica to luxury yacht cruise operator in the destinations such as the Mediterranean and Japan.  

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  7. Ponant has the First lady of cruising from Australia Sarina Bratton  in there corner , how significant and how big of an influence has she been in bringing Ponant to Australia and branding of the company ??

Sarina established the entity and engaged the senior management for PONANT in Australia.  She is special adviser to the executive management on internationalising the business and the product.  Having established luxury expedition cruising in Australia Sarina brings a depth of experience and understanding as to what Australians are looking for in this top end luxury and expedition market and she has a strong following. 
 

Her influence is already reflected in an expansion of Ponant voyages to this part of the world and an increase in the number of expedition voyages in addition to those designated luxury voyages.   

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8. With the unique product that Ponant yacht cruises & expeditions has to offer, where does Ponant see them selves in five years time ??

The most highly successful and leading luxury and expedition operator in the world.
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Information supplied by: Australian Cruising News.com.au The HOME Of Australian Cruising!
 
Photos credit : Brian Gaskin of Australian Cruising News.com.au

Sydney Celebrates in Style, With A Sophisticated Cruising Saturday !

Four Of The World’s Most Luxurious Ships Visit Sydney, As Two Berth At The Same Terminal For The First Time.

Sydney enjoyed an extra touch of class, on Saturday, with four of the world’s most luxurious ships, from four of the worlds most luxurious cruise lines berthed in the city’s stunning harbour.

Carrying 200 guests, Le Soleal is one of the youngest ships in the world and was making her maiden visit to Sydney on Saturday, docking at the OPT alongside the 686-guest Azamara Quest which was making her second call to the city as part of her inaugural season in Australia.

Meanwhile the ultra-luxury 458-guest Seabourn Odyssey and Silversea Cruises’ intimate 382-guest Silver Whisper were berthed at White Bay Cruise Terminal.

Between them the four boutique ships brought close to 3000 visitors to the city and injected more than $2 million into the economy.

The February 13 visit marked the first time in history that two modern cruise ships have shared the Overseas Passenger Terminal (OPT) at the Quay for the day, an event made possible by the boutique size of the vessels, the 142-metre long PONANT Le Soleal and 180-metre long Azamara Quest. The Idea behind it all was Ponant's very own Sarnia Bratton, along with working with Sydney Ports.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia Commercial Director Brett Jardine said the visit by four luxury ships was testament to Sydney’s popularity as a world class cruise destination.

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“When it comes to cruising, Sydney is in hot demand, as Saturday demonstrated. To have four of the world’s most elegant ships visiting on one day is an extraordinary event - and great news for the local economy,” Mr Jardine said.

With many guests disembarking in Sydney and others embarking on Saturday, Mr Jardine said the four ships had brought more than 2800 visitors to the city.

“Most of the ships’ guests were international tourists so they were busy spending their time shopping and enjoying the sights of Sydney, while many had booked a few nights’ pre or post-cruise accommodation in the city,” he said.  

“CLIA studies show international passengers cruising from Sydney spend an average $762 a day in the city, while transiting guests spend more than $200 a day, so between guest and crew expenditure, ship provedoring and port charges, we estimate these ships’ visits would have injected more than $2 million into the economy in just one day.”

The visits come during Sydney’s busiest ever cruise month, with 27 different ships making an extraordinary 45 calls to Sydney during February.  The wave of activity will continue into March, when 17 ships will make 33 calls to the harbour city in just 30 days.

Mr Jardine said the historic dual berthing at the Overseas Passenger Terminal followed the recent upgrade of cruise facilities at Circular Quay by the Port Authority of NSW including the refurbishment of the terminal and the installation of a new mooring dolphin at the northern end of the wharf.  

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Le Soleal’s visit came at the end of a five-day cruise from Auckland. She departed Sydney on Saturday evening on a nine-night sell-out cruise to Cairns from Sydney, with Azamara Quest leaving shortly afterwards on a 17-night East Coast Australia and Bali cruise.

Mr Jardine said more than one million Australians now take a cruise every year, making the nation the fourth largest passenger source market in the world.  In total, 38 ships from CLIA member cruise lines will sail in Australian waters this summer, the biggest summer season for the nation yet. 

Cruising contributes around $3.5 billion to the national economy, including more than $2.3 billion in New South Wales.

All four cruise lines visiting on Saturday confirmed that Sydney was one of their most popular ports of call.

PONANT Chairman Asia Pacific Sarina Bratton said Le Soleal’s maiden visit demonstrated the appeal of Australia on the global cruise stage. 

“Ponant continues to make significant investment in Australia and is committed to growing the region as both an important source market as well as a significant destination for our global base of guests, as seen by by the introduction of our Kimberley voyages in 2017,” Ms Bratton said.

Azamara Regional Commercial Director Adam Armstrong said the cruise line was all about the destinations it sailed to. 

“There's no port that rates higher amongst our guests than Sydney's Overseas Passenger Terminal. To berth here, side by side with Ponant, demonstrates not only the excellent improvements to infrastructure in Sydney, but also the growth and demand for this luxury style of cruising,” Mr Armstrong said.

Seabourn Senior Vice President Global Marketing and Sales John Delaney said a visit to Sydney was a key attraction on the ultra-luxury cruise line’s itineraries every summer.

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“Sydney is such an iconic and popular port with our guests and Australians have shown such a strong affinity with Seabourn that we purposely decided to bring our newest ship, the beautiful Seabourn Encore down to Sydney next February for her maiden season, just weeks after her inaugural ceremony in Singapore,” Mr Delaney said.

Silversea General Manager Australasia Karen Christensen said Silver Whisper’s visit was representative of the enduring appeal of Sydney. 

“Silversea has been visiting not only Sydney but many Australian ports since the company started in 1994, with its luxury presence contributing to the local economy on each call,” Ms Christensen said.

Information supplied by : Cruise Lines Intewrnational Association Of Australasia. [ CLIA ].

Photo's Credit : Brian Gaskin Of Cruise The Seas Travel And Media.

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Princess Cruises Set To Unveil A Magical New Show To WOW Australian Audiences At Sea.

Magic will be in the air for Australian cruisers when Emerald Princess arrives Down Under for its maiden season of cruises in November, carrying a brand new musical from three-time Oscar winner and composer of Wicked, Pippin and Godspell Stephen Schwartz.

Schwartz’s first production for a cruise line, Magic to Do celebrates his lifelong fascination with magic and combines thrilling illusions with some of his most famous songs, such as Magic to Do from Pippin and Defying Gravity from Wicked. The show also includes a brand new song written exclusively for Princess called A Little Magic. 

A cruise-industry first, the creation of Magic to Do is part of a multi-year agreement, which will see Schwartz oversee the creative development of four musicals to debut across the fleet over the next several years. Magic to Do debuted on Crown Princess in October last year.

stephen schwartz melissa hoya

Princess Cruises Vice President Australia & New Zealand Stuart Allison said Princess was known for introducing product innovations and was thrilled to embark on this extraordinary new live-show entertainment – unlike anything any cruise line has ever before offered.

“Stephen is one of the most talented and accomplished Broadway composers of all time and Princess couldn’t be more honoured to partner with him to create memorable entertainment experiences for our guests. We’re sure the production will be a huge hit when it debuts in Australia later this year,” Mr Allison said.

Schwartz said he was excited about using the enormous resources available with Princess to create new and innovative theatrical entertainment.

stephen schwatz

“Their onboard theatres are Broadway-calibre venues with state-of-the-art technical capability, and coupled with their access to first-rate performers, I see it as an extraordinary and almost irresistible opportunity. I have received overwhelming and enthusiastic interest from talented colleagues – writers, directors, and designers to whom I have spoken – and I hope together we will create new kinds of cruise ship shows to entertain and inspire Princess guests unlike any other productions at sea,” he said.

Schwartz will bring together a cadre of Broadway talent to support the four Princess productions through direction and design. 

During his 40-year career, Schwartz has won four Grammys, three Academy Awards for “Best Song” and “Best Score” for Pocahontas and “Best Song” for The Prince of Egypt and has been nominated for six Tony Awards. He is the only songwriter in Broadway history to ever have three shows run more than 1900 performances. 

stephen schwartz performing

Emerald Princess will based in Sydney from November 2016 to April 2017, with fares starting from $1599* per person twin share for an 11-night New Zealand cruise roundtrip from Sydney, departing January 10, 2017.

Additional information about Princess’ partnership with Stephen Schwartz can be found at http://www.princess.com/schwartz. 

Information supplied by: Princess Cruises.

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Le Soleal Inaugural Visit To Sydney.

On Saturday 13 February, Sydney-siders will be able to see the arrival of one of the world’s youngest fleet of luxury expedition ships - French flagged PONANT ship, Le Soleal.

Looking like a super yacht fresh from Monaco, Le Soleal makes her inaugural arrival in Sydney, arriving from Auckland with 200 passengers.

At just 142 metres in length she represents the epitome of luxurious expedition cruising. Compact - dwarfed by the mega thousand passenger cruise ships that frequent the harbour - she appears more private yacht than cruise ship.

Berthing at around 10.00am, Le Soleal will provide a touch of French glamour to Circular Quay, the perfect venue for observers to take in her modern designer lines.

Le Soleal represents the latest in nautical design, a step forward and away from the traditional brass and glass of older ships, her swooping exterior hides innovative stylish interiors created by French designer Jean-Philippe Nuel.

More than a pretty face, Le Soleal, launched in June 2013, has an ice rated hull and is regularly seen in both the Arctic and Antarctic carrying her 200 or so guests to rarely seen and extraordinary destinations. One month ago she was exploring the Sub Antarctic Islands, including Australia’s own World Heritage rated Macquarie Island. Equally at home in tropical climes, from Australia she heads north to the tropical islands of Indonesia and then on to Asia.

INFORMATION

Created in 1988, PONANT specialises in luxury cruising aboard its fleet of intimate yacht-style vessels (32 to 122 staterooms) embodying a lifestyle “à la française.”

These elegant, small-capacity ships offer chic luxury and expedition cruising without the crowds, being small enough to reach ports that are inaccessible to bigger ships with destinations in Antarctica, Alaska & the Arctic, the Caribbean, Central & South America, the Mediterranean, Northern Europe & the Baltic, West Africa, Asia, Melanesia, Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific.

The latest eco-friendly technologies, attentive five-star service, bilingual crew, luxurious staterooms and suites, gourmet cuisine and expert expedition crew on expedition voyages promise voyages that are unique and full of emotionally moving experiences.

Le Soleal: modern casual chic. Just 142 metres in length Le Soleal has 132 staterooms and suites / 140 crew. 95% of all cabins have a balcony. Inclusive Open Bar; 24 hour room service.

French style - the only cruise company flying the French flag. French brands - beauty firm SOTHYSTM, Pierre FREY fabrics, home fragrances by FRAGONARD, L’OCCITANE for beauty products, boutique selection from LACOSTE, FAÇONNABLE…

Environmental responsibility: Sister ships Le Boréal, L’Austral, Le Soléal and Le Lyrial have obtained the international “CLEANSHIP” (Bureau Veritas) label for innovative green equipment.

Information supplied by ; Ponant Yacht Cruises And Expeditions.

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Princees Cruises Set To Debut Hull ArtWork On All Their Ships Starting From 2017.

Princess Cruises will begin adding hull art to their fleet of ships starting with their currently under construction Majestic Princess which was floated out of the Fincantieri shipyard yesterday. The ship is scheduled for delivery in 2017.

The hull of Majestic Princess will be the first Princess ship in the 50 year history of the cruise line to feature the new hull livery with the Princess Seawitch design.

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Jan Swartz, president of Princess Cruises, gave the following statement:

“For nearly half a century our Princess logo has represented the adventure of cruise travel around the globe. Now our ships sail to more than 360 ports of call worldwide and will be instantly recognized from afar. As the very first cruise ship built for China, at 143,00gt and with a guest capacity of 3,560 we take great pride that Majestic Princess is our first ship to proudly display our new livery design.”

After the debut of Majestic Princess in 2017, the Princess Seawitch design will be rolled out to the rest of the 18 ships in their fleet throughout the next few years. Other cruise lines that display hull art on their ships include Norwegian Cruise Line with AIDA Cruises and P&O UK (also owned by Carnival Corp.).

Information supplied by: Princess Cruises.

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 Sydney To Make History As Two Cruise Ships Dock At Circular Quay At The Same Time.

Sydney is the gateway to cruising to some of the world’s most popular destinations. You can be a part of a World cruise from this wonderful city of ours. It still goes to show that it is voted as the number one port for visitors and even crew on board the cruise ships and Ocean Liners that visit our stunning harbour with the harbour bridge and the Opera house as the background.

It is history in the making to have two ships berthed at Circular Quay at the same time, the Azamara Quest at 180 metres long and Ponant’s Le Soleal at 142 metres long. Both of these ships will be berthed bow to stern while at the pier. Then there is one more to be berthed at White Bay 4 Seabourn Odessey and one at White Bay cruise terminal Silver Whisper.

While some calling it a historic moment, there are others who say that it shows the peak – season down fall of Sydney harbour. To me having these four boutique cruise ships from four different cruise lines represents the major growth of the Australian Cruise Industry and its popularity which is here to stay.

Sydney’s great harbour will be on display, but Sydney in general as a popular destination will be on full display.

 

Yes, the reason why it is possible due to the much smaller sizes of the two ships compared to many which dock there, but I still believe that it is a great way to showcase Sydney. Both ships will be bringing a combined total of just over 1,000 people onshore for the day.

Le Soleal is one of the youngest ships in the world and will be making her maiden visit to Sydney, her maiden voyage was on the 1st of July 2013 making her 2 years 7 months old. While the 180-metre long Azamara Quest is making her second call to the city as part of her inaugural season in Australia.  

Cruise Lines International Association Commercial Director Brett Jardine said the visit by four luxury ships on the one day was a first for Sydney and reflected Australia’s growing popularity as a cruise destination.

“Between them these four beautiful ships will bring thousands of high-end visitors to our city – visitors who will be busy exploring Sydney and enjoying plenty of shopping and touring as they take in the sights, which is great news for the local economy,” Mr Jardine said.

The visits come during Sydney’s busiest ever cruise month, with 27 different ships making an extraordinary 45 calls to Sydney during February. The wave of activity will continue into March, when 17 ships will make 33 calls to the harbour city in just 30 days.

Mr Jardine said the historic dual berthing at the Overseas Passenger Terminal followed the recent upgrade of cruise facilities at Circular Quay by the Port Authority of NSW including the refurbishment of the terminal and the installation of a new mooring dolphin at the northern end of the wharf

Sydneysiders will be able to watch Le Soleal berth beside Azamara Quest on Saturday morning (Feb 13), with the boutique ship scheduled to arrive into the Harbour about 9.30am, docking at the OPT by 10am.

Le Soleal’s visit comes at the end of a five-day cruise from Auckland. Most of the 200 guests onboard will disembark in the morning, making way for new guests who will board during the day to sail on a nine-night sell-out cruise to Cairns from Sydney.

Meanwhile Azamara Quest will berth at the OPT at 8pm on Friday, the final night of her 13-night New Zealand cruise from Auckland. She will overnight at the terminal, before departing at 5.30pm on Saturday on a 17-night East Coast Australia and Bali cruise.

Mr Jardine said more than one million Australians now take a cruise every year, making the nation the fourth largest passenger source market in the world. In total, 38 ships from CLIA member cruise lines will sail in Australian waters this summer, the biggest summer season for the nation yet.

Information supplied by: Cruise Lines International Association Of Australasia. [ CLIA ]

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Carnival Cruise Lines Australia , Giving Guests Giving Guests The Vacation Of A Lifetime.

Paying her first visit to Australia this week since taking over as head of the world’s largest cruise line, Carnival Cruise Line.

Ms Duffy boarded Carnival Spirit in Sydney on Wednesday and will visit Carnival Legend at Circular Quay on Saturday.

Carnival Cruise Lines [ CCL ] is committed to “making cruising affordable for everyone” as it continues to have a strong presence in the Australian cruising market.Speaking to local media in Sydney yesterday, chief executive Christine Duffy said that the brand is firmly focused on the interactions with its guests.

We also like to think that we have some unique on board experience’s that hold a special place in our guests hearts, such as Guys burger joint and the Green Thunder waterslide, Red frog rum bar plus to many others to add. This offers a great experience for all.

“The belief that everyone deserves to take a great vacation resonates just as much now as it did when Carnival was first founded,” she explained.

“Other brands may be more about the ships but with Carnival it’s more about the interactions and on board experience’s , she said.

The idea of “participating in fun activities” is a major part of the cruise line’s identity, with Duffy describing it as the “secret ingredient”.

“We put a lot of new innovations onboard that we think our guests will love but it’s more about how our guests feel on a vacation,” she said.

Christine Duffy centre with Carnivals shoreside team onboard Carnival Spirit

Its offer of “great value” is one of its main selling points and, as a result, its clientele is one of the more diverse in the industry, according to Duffy, who pointed to the high number of families and children that sail with it – “more than any other cruise line”.

Meanwhile, the homeporting of Carnival Legend in Sydney alongside Carnival Spirit has significantly boosted the cruise line’s local capacity. She described Carnival Spirit’s full-time presence in Sydney and Carnival Legend’s extended seasonal deployment Down Under as a “good measure” for the brand in the Australian market.

And while CCL vice president and general manager Australia Jennifer Vandekreeke said there were no plans to bring another vessel Down Under, Brisbane remains of interest.

“Hypothetically if could get into Brisbane and make it work, then we’d be highly interested in doing so,” she admitted. Although Jennifer had also said high level discussions would also need to take place at Carnival Australia, with a number of other brands also interested in the port of Brisbane.

Authorities are currently considering a proposal for a new $100 million cruise terminal at the mouth of Brisbane River which would be easier to get to from Brisbane Airport.

In the meantime, Australian cruisers who are keen to try something a little different are now being urged to try one of CCL’s international ships and different itineraries.

Since January 1, travel agents have had a central sales team, phone number and website for all of the cruise line’s local and international cruise queries and bookings as the cruise line ended its arrangement with international general sales agent Travel the World.

Although Vandekreeke stressed it was still early days, she revealed international bookings are already above the same time last year.

Information supplied by: Carnival Cruise Line, Australia.

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Royal Caribbean International Not To Convert From USD To Aud While Ships Are Based In Australia.

For all the Loyal Royal Caribbean fans out there, In fact for anyone who loves to cruise and is thinking about taking a Royal Caribbean cruise in the future from an Australian departure point.

The below would be worth considering for any future cruises.

China is Australia’s largest trading partner, so the ongoing slowdown hobbling the Asian giant could spell trouble for the Australian currency, which is struggling to stay above the symbolic 0.70 cents level.

With the Australian dollar falling and the USD on the rise according to research from Market Pulse the AUD could and is expected to fall to as low as 0.65 cents.

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There has been a lot of speculation and rumour through different Facebook and media sites that relate to one of the Biggest cruise lines in Australia, that Royal Caribbean International are converting from USD to AUD while their ships are based in Australia.

Well I can end the speculation and rumour right now with the following statement by Adam Armstrong, regional Commercial Director for Royal Caribbean International .

In the following statement issued Adam clearly says’

"Royal Caribbean is an international cruise line sailing in all parts of the world. We strive to offer our guests the same high standard and international style of cruising wherever in the world we are, therefore onboard costs are priced in US dollars for a consistent experience."

Information supplied by: Adam Armstrong, Regional Commercial Director For Royal Caribbean International.

Cruise The Seas Travel And Media, Cruising Australia The HOME Of Australian Cruising!

Royal Caribbean Supports Australia's Got Talent Show, To Showcase Australia's Unque Talent.

Nine Network and RCI announce Australia’s Got Talent partnership.

Royal Caribbean International has announced a new partnership with one of Australia’s most popular TV programs, Australia’s Got Talent. The program returns to Channel Nine this year and celebrates the unique and brilliant talents of Australians from all walks of life, premiering on Monday 1 February 2016.  

“Royal Caribbean is incredibly proud of its world-class onboard entertainment so we’re thrilled to partner with one of Australia’s favourite television programs and showcase the very best of Aussie talent,” said Adam Armstrong, commercial director, Royal Caribbean International.

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Royal Caribbean International is the major sponsor of Australia’s Got Talent’s “Wildcard” entries. Contestants who are not taken through to the semi-final by the celebrity judges can be voted back into the finals by viewers as Wildcards. 

The winning Wildcard entrant will receive a cruise on Explorer of the Seas – Australia’s biggest, newest and most technologically advanced megaliner – plus Royal Caribbean will also offer one lucky Wildcard voter playing from home the chance to win a cruise for two on the same voyage: an 11-night cruise to New Zealand in April 2016, sailing roundtrip from Sydney and including return economy airfares. 

“We can’t wait to support Australia’s best talent. Explorer of the Seas is Australia’s newest and biggest cruise ship, packed with entertainment for all the family, so it’s a fitting prize for such an incredible competition,” he continued.

“Royal Caribbean is known the world over for its fantastic entertainment: from Broadway style shows and ice-skating spectaculars to incredible aerial displays, we set the cruise industry standard for entertainment. And if you keep a close ear out, you’re likely to hear many an Australian accent amongst our talented team of singers, dancers and musicians.  What’s more, all of this entertainment is included in your cruise fare, for no extra charge,” Adam concluded.

At 138,194 tons, 311 metres long and 38 metres wide, Explorer of the Seas is the largest and most feature packed cruise ship sailing down under. Thanks to her multi-million make over in April last year, Explorer of the Seas is virtually a brand new ship and offers the same signature features found onboard twin sister Voyager of the Seas.  Guests can now test their surfing skills on the new FlowRider surf simulator; watch a film come to life in the 3-D Movie theatre or on the poolside movie screen; and experience three new delectable dining options including fresh sushi at Izumi Japanese Cuisine, Royal Caribbean’s signature Chops Grille steakhouse and family-style Italian trattoria Giovanni’s Table. 

Explorer of the Seas also offers popular guest favourite amenities such as the iconic and only-on-Royal Caribbean ice-skating rink, Broadway style shows in a 1,350-seat theatre, outdoor rock climbing wall, a full sized basketball and sports court, world class dining and the Royal Promenade – an interior boulevard that runs nearly the length of the ship flanked by restaurants, bars, lounges and boutiques, and the place where evening dance parties are held.

Information supplied by: Royal Caribbean International.

Cruise The Seas Travel And Media, Cruising Australia The HOME Of Australian Cruising!

“The Come Back New" Promise From Princess Cruises Ultimately Allowing Us To Declare To Our Guests,  That A Cruise Isn’t Good Enough Unless You "Come Back New"

Princess Cruises has announced The Come Back New Promise, a $450 million multi-year product innovation and cruise ship renovation campaign that will continue to enhance the line’s onboard guest experience.

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Princess Cruises Vice President Australia & New Zealand Stuart Allison said the campaign would result in more transformative moments, lifetime memories and meaningful stories for guests to enjoy and share.  “The Come Back New Promise differentiates our approach to cruising and offers our guests enriching holiday experiences by connecting them with each other, nature and different cultures in a new way,” Mr Allison said.

Our promise is to provide guests transformative moments designed to inspire them to discover the world and themselves, ultimately allowing us to declare that a cruise isn’t good enough unless you ‘come back new’.”  The campaign demonstrates a commitment by Princess Cruises to exceed guest expectations while continuously improving upon and delivering a high value cruise experience that inspires guests to return and introduce cruising to their family and friends.    Initiatives inspired to deliver The Come Back New Promise include:  * Chef Curtis Stone – a partnership with award-winning Australian chef and restaurateur Curtis Stone brings guests fresh, new culinary creations. All Princess ships will feature “Crafted by Curtis” menu items in the main dining room. Following its refurbishment in April, locally-based ship Sun Princess will offer “SHARE” a brand new specialty restaurant which will include a new Chef’s Table experience designed by Stone. The restaurant has also been added to Emerald Princess, which will cruise from Australia later this year.

SHARE by Curtis Stone on Ruby Princess

 

* The Princess Luxury Bed – featuring a new specially designed bed to deliver the ultimate night of sleep at sea the Princess Luxury Bed was developed in collaboration with experts in both the science and beauty of sleep -- Dr. Michael Breus, “The Sleep Doctor,” and highly acclaimed designer, Candice Olson. By 2018, Princess will have installed more than 44,000 new beds to every stateroom across the fleet. * Chocolate Journeys - An immersive chocolate experience designed by Master Chocolatier Norman Love, exclusive to Princess, was launched offering delectable desserts, wine and chocolate pairings and specialty chocolate cocktails. New chocolate offerings allow guests to indulge in even more custom-crafted signature desserts in new venues throughout the ship, as well as chocolate pairings with tea and more.    * Discovery at Sea - A partnership with Discovery Communications, which brings new, innovative activities and shore excursions to the Princess-guest experience through hit shows like Deadliest Catch and Shark Week.   

* World of Whisky  – locally-based ships including Dawn Princess and Sea Princess feature dedicated whisky bars offering a menu of more than 60 different whiskies from around the globe to provide a diverse tasting experience for all palates.

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* Live Sporting Action – following the roll out of Prime Australia, a live 24 hour broadcast of Australian news, sports and television shows, guests can watch full season coverage of the Australian Football League and A League games from the comfort of their stateroom. The dedicated Australian channel is in addition to the existing Sports 24 channel which broadcasts the National Rugby League, rugby union, tennis and cricket matches in public spaces and onboard bars including the new Legends bar on Sea Princess. 

* New Original Musical Productions – Magic to Do, the first of four musical production shows created in collaboration with Stephen Schwartz, award-winning composer and songwriter of Wicked, Godspell and Pippin, combines exhilarating magic with some of Schwartz’s most famous songs.  Plus, the show features a brand new song written exclusively for Princess. Magic to Do debuted to critical acclaim and is currently running aboard Crown Princess, Emerald Princess and Ruby Princess. 

* Craft Beer Series – Through partnerships with regional breweries that specialise in local flavour, Princess started the series with an award-winning West Coast IPA from Strike Brewing Company in California., followed it with a special 50th Anniversary blend and have since added the Alaska Denali Red Ale, East Coast Blonde Lager and the Australian Gold Ale. 

* The Salty Dog Gastropub – another new dining option which highlights a variety of small bites inspired by pub favorites, adapted for an upscale culinary experience. Developed in collaboration with Ernesto Uchimura, a founding chef of the original Umami Burger, guests will also enjoy a variety of beer, whiskey and cocktail selections.  Currently available on select ships. 

The Salty Dog Gastropub media

* Princess@Sea Messenger - Guests have the opportunity to connect with their fellow cruisers using mobile messenger, an instant message feature offering an easy way to make plans, confirm a meeting location while onboard the ship. The Princess@Sea Messenger is integrated in the complimentary Princess@Sea mobile app, accessed via a smartphone or tablet browser.

More announcements about ship renovations, entertainment and accommodations, in association with The Come Back New Promise campaign, will be announced in the coming months.

Information supplied by: Princess Cruises.

Cruise The Seas Travel And Media, Cruising Australia The HOME Of Australian Cruising!

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