As Australians’ passion for cruising continues to grow, Melbourne today welcomed the largest cruise ship ever to be based in Victoria – the 2600-guest Golden Princess – in spectacular style.The megaliner was greeted by two massive golden curtains, each measuring 20,000 sq ft, which were flown out to the ship by two helicopters as it sailed down Port Philip Bay. In a theatrical move, the curtains were then drawn apart, revealing the ship to the city as it made its maiden call to its new homeport.
At 108,000-tonne, Golden Princess is 40 per cent larger than the previous biggest ship to be based in Melbourne, Dawn Princess, and will carry 23 per cent more guests during her inaugural Melbourne deployment, with 40,000 guests set to cruise on her over the next five months.
The season is expected to deliver around $15 million to the Victorian economy in passenger and crew spending as well as supplies and port charges.
The decision to base the megaliner in Melbourne for her maiden Australian season from October 2015 to March 2016 follows growing demand for cruise holidays from Victorians over recent years. Industry figures show that more than one million Australians took a cruise in 2014, including more than 175,000 Victorians. With numbers increasing by 24 per cent compared to 2013, Victoria is one of the fastest growing cruise states in Australia.
Golden Princess is also an appropriate choice for Melbourne as it was recently selected to be the first vessel in Princess Cruises’ 18-ship fleet to offer a selection of Curtis Stone menu items in its main dining room. The Melbourne-born international chef and restaurateur has just formed an exclusive partnership with Princess Cruises which will see “Crafted by Curtis” menu items featured across the fleet, while a number of Princess’ ships will also offer Curtis’ first restaurant at sea, SHARE.
In all, Golden Princess features more than a dozen different dining options – as well as four swimming pools, a large spa, a child-free Sanctuary retreat and more than 1300 staterooms, with 55 per cent offering private balconies.
With her 290-metre length almost equal to the height of Melbourne’s Eureka Tower, the ship also boasts the spectacular Skywalkers Nightclub suspended at the rear of the ship and reached by a moving walkway above the decks.
Golden Princess’ five-month Melbourne season will feature 15 roundtrip cruises to New Zealand, the South Pacific and Tasmania and is a key feature of Princess’ largest ever summer Down Under with a record five Princess ships based in Australia.
Speaking in Melbourne today, Princess Cruises Vice President Australia & New Zealand Stuart Allison said the cruise line had sailed from Melbourne every summer since 2008-09.
“Over that time a growing number of Victorians have come to appreciate the ease of cruising from their doorstep, and recognise the great value that a cruise holiday offers. There’s no question that a grand-class Princess ship like Golden Princess, with all its beautiful features, will entice even more Victorians to holiday at sea,” he said.
Golden Princess fares start from $1699* pp twin share for a 13-night cruise to New Zealand departing January 23, 2016.
For more information and bookings see a licenced travel agent, call 13 24 88 or visit princess.com
*Fares are per person twin share. Subject to availability, conditions apply