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Australian cruise season starts with a bang

Australian cruise season starts with a bang

The arrival of Princess Cruises’ Majestic Princess in Sydney last week marked the official start of the 2018-19 cruise season, one that promises to be the busiest yet for Australia’s ports.

Looking at the main cruise lines, 2017’s Majestic Princess is one of 20 ships under the Carnival Australia umbrella to sail locally – it will be the newest and biggest Princess ship to cruise here. Carnival Australia represents seven cruise lines (Princess, P&O, Carnival Cruise Line, Cunard, Holland America Line, Seabourn and P&O UK) and their ships will make 696 calls to ports around Australia, a 13 per cent increase from last summer’s record-breaking season.

Several ships are staying longer than before; Majestic Princess will be in Australia for six months and Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth will cruise out of Sydney and Melbourne for two months between February and March.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, which operates Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania and Regent Seven Seas, will have four ships visiting this summer: Norwegian Jewel, Oceania’s Insignia and Regatta and Seven Seas Mariner.

Norwegian Jewel is back for its second full season in November, fresh from a major makeover; it will be based in Sydney until February. Jewel’s new itineraries include a 13-day Pacific islands cruise, a round-trip from Sydney departing in January, and a 19-day cruise from Sydney to Singapore, departing in February.

Oceania Insignia will be in local waters in early 2019. Oceania Regatta is sailing from Bali to Sydney on December 28, calling at several ports in WA as well as Burnie, Tasmania and Eden, NSW, on its 19-day itinerary, and will be cruising between Australia and New Zealand until March.

Seven Seas Mariner is sailing a new 36-night circumnavigation of Australia and beyond from Sydney, departing on December 15; ports of call include Alotau and Port Moresby in PNG, Benoa in Bali and a first-time visit to Broome.