Figures have just been released, showing that a bumper summer campaign led to 130,000 people taking a cruise across 55 itineraries. Two luxury Celebrity ships, Solstice and Century, were based in Australia for the first time, while Voyager of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas and the final season for Rhapsody of the Seas completing an impressive selection of cruising options.
A key Australian base
Having five local ships allowed trips to 51 different ports around Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific. And commercial director RCL Cruises Ltd, Aus & south-east Asia, Sean Treacy, says it's a portent of things to come.
"Cruising in Australia is experiencing significant growth and we were thrilled to have offered the biggest, most innovative and highest-rated ships sailing in local waters."
"We carried more guests than ever before, and although it is bittersweet that we have farewelled Rhapsody of the Seas, over very first local ship that kick-started the international style of cruising we have today, we look forward to next season when we welcome two new Royal Caribbean International ships, Voyager Class Explorer of the Seas and Legend of the Seas, the first Royal Caribbean ship to be home ported in Brisbane."
While exciting on-board innovations for 2014/15 included the FlowRider surf simulator and virtual balcony staterooms on Voyager, confidence is high that 2015/16 will be even more successful. So, what can we look forward to?
- Six ships to be based locally in Australia, including one in Brisbane: Legend of the Seas.
- Azamara Quest is also coming Down Under.
- Brand new cruise ship Ovation of the Seas is heading Sydney from December 2016.
- Facilities on offer will include iFly sky-diving, a robotic bar and Jamie Oliver's first restaurant at sea.
Timeline for upcoming arrivals
The season kicks off with a bang from Friday October 9, when Radiance of the Seas arrives in Australia, with Celebrity Solstice just 12 days later. Voyager returns home on November 5, with Explorer arriving in Perth just a week later for her maiden Aussie season. Explorer of the Seas is all set for Sydney on November 28, where Voyager will historically meet up with her in the Harbour. But perhaps the biggest news is Ovation's arrival. The $1.3billion ship is still being constructed in Germany and will carry nearly 5000 guests.
Are you getting on-board a Royal Caribbean or Celebrity ship next season and what are you most looking forward to? Send us your views in the comments section below.