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RCL Australia Wraps Up Record Breaking Summer

April 26, 2017 Cruise No Comments Email Email

Explorer of the Seas made her final visit to Sydney’s OPT this summer on Saturday 22 April, concluding RCL Cruises’ record breaking summer cruise season in Australia and New Zealand.

The company’s three brands, Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises, based an unprecedented seven ships in the region – 15 percent of the global fleet – including two new ships; the newest and biggest Australia has ever seen, Ovation of the Seas, and the boutique, freshly revitalised Azamara Journey. 

Explorer of the Seas’ departure from Sydney on Saturday evening, concludes what has been our biggest and most incredible season to date, carrying more than 300,000 guests on local cruises and injecting an expected AUD$200 million into the local economy in passenger spend alone,” said Adam Armstrong, managing director, RCL Australia & NZ.

“We increased capacity by 17 percent, introduced two new ships to the region, completely refreshed another, launched a brand new cruise port in Wollongong, and wowed Aussies, Kiwis and more than 50,000 guests from overseas on over 90 different itineraries around Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Asia. What’s more, Royal Caribbean International became Australia’s largest cruise line in terms of capacity over the summer season. It truly has been a record breaking seven months,” Armstrong said.

“Royal Caribbean changed the game for cruising down under when we introduced supercruising to Australia, with the incredible US$1 billionOvation of the Seas,” Armstrong continued.

The spectacular vessel arrived in December to much fan-fare and was the first brand new ship to be based in Australian waters. With almost 5,000 passengers and 1,500 crew, she also claimed the title of the biggest from sister ship Explorer of the Seas. With that size came an increased range of features found only on Royal Caribbean, including sky diving and surfing experiences, the North Star viewing capsule, bumper cars, the robotic Bionic Bar, 18 different dining options and spell-binding entertainment.

On the other end of the scale, RCL also welcomed its smallest ship in the fleet, the 690-guest Azamara Journey for her maiden Australian season in February 2017. The boutique ship arrived completely refreshed after an extensive makeover, offering the line’s signature longer stays in unique Australian and Kiwi ports for more authentic experiences on land.

Culinary favourite Radiance of the Seas made waves this season opening up a new port for the industry, becoming the first cruise ship to bring passengers to the NSW coastal city of Wollongong and arriving to huge celebrations from locals of the Illawarra. The City of Wollongong also welcomed Voyager of the Seas twice during the season.

Radiance of the Seas also made maiden calls for Royal Caribbean to the beautiful South Pacific islands of Tonga, visiting Vava’u and Nuku’alofa in December. Meanwhile, identical sister ships Explorer of the Seas and Voyager of the Seas, known as the South Pacific sisters, made their mark with dedicated sailings all season to the South Pacific islands of Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia.

Australia’s favourite and highest rated cruise ship*, Celebrity Solstice, sailed her fifth consecutive local season, fresh from a stunning makeover. Additions included the first Tiffany and Co store at sea for the region; a new Japanese dining option, Sushi on Five; beautiful cabanas on the famed real grass Lawn Club, and an outdoor movie screen that to host her new film and gastronomic experience, “A Taste of Film” for guests.

“Although there were many highs this season, we also had to bid a fond farewell to one of our true legends of the fleet, Legend of the Seas. She was the first Royal Caribbean ship to visit Australia back in 1999 and after two successful seasons serving as our first Queensland-based ship, she left the fleet in March for Thomson Cruises in the UK,” Armstrong continued.

The upcoming 2017/18 season will see six RCL ships return, including the ground-breaking Ovation of the Seas for a longer second season, along with South Pacific sisters Voyager of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas, Celebrity Solstice and Azamara Journey. Next summer will also see the introduction of a number of new cruise ports for the company, with Azamara Journey set to arrive via the west coast of Australia, calling to Exmouth, Bunbury, Albany, Esperance and Kangaroo Island for the first time.  

“Although all of our ships have headed off for warmer climates, it’s important to remember that the 2017/18 summer season is already on sale and selling quick! So you mustn’t leave your summer cruise planning to the last minute. It’s vital to get in early to ensure you don’t miss out on your preferred itineraries or cabins,” finished Adam.

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