RCL Cruises Australia has reached another milestone and is counting down to its biggest season yet. This year will see all three brands based in local waters for the very first time, with six extraordinary ships offering diverse itineraries from local ports. The 2015/16 summer season will see RCL’s local capacity increase by almost 50 percent with 93 itineraries around Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Asia on Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and for the first time, Azamara Club Cruises.
“RCL Cruises has been offering Australians incredible cruise holidays for almost a decade and we can’t wait to kick off our biggest season yet with more unique itinerary offerings on some of the largest, youngest and most exceptional ships sailing locally,” said Sean Treacy, commercial director, RCL Cruises.
“This season will also see one of our largest few days in Sydney yet, when superliner Celebrity Solstice and the two largest cruise ships based in Australia, Voyager of the Seas and Explorer of the Seas, all visit over three days, turning around more than 25,000 passengers and crew at the Overseas Passenger Terminal.
“Voyager of the Seas will welcome identical sister ship Explorer of the Seas to her new Sydney home for the first time with an historic rendezvous in beautiful Sydney Harbour on Saturday 28th November. Meanwhile, Australia’s highest rated cruise ship* and one of the most modern superliners sailing on local waters, Celebrity Solstice turns around in Sydney on Thursday 26th November. Over three days, the three ships have a combined capacity of almost 15,000 passengers and crew, and an average age of only 12 years making them the largest and some of the youngest cruise ships based in Australia,” continued Sean.
What’s new for the 2015/16 Australasian cruise season:
- Azamara Club Cruises will base its first ever ship in Australia, Azamara Quest.
- Royal Caribbean International will base its first ever ship out of Brisbane, Legend of the Seas.
- Recently revitalised Voyager Class ship Explorer of the Seas will sail out of Sydney for the first time offering some of the most incredible onboard features like sister ship Voyager of the Seas, including a FlowRider surf simulator.
- Australia’s highest rated cruise ship*, Celebrity Solstice will visit Mystery Island in Vanuatu for the first time.
- Celebrity Solstice also arrives home this year with new Suite Class enhancements including a dedicated suite-only restaurant called Luminae, a VIP lounge, complimentary ‘all in’ benefits such as premium beverages, dining at any specialty restaurant and unlimited internet access.
RCL’s Australasian cruise season will kick off with the arrival of Radiance of the Seas into Sydney on Friday 9th October, followed by Celebrity Solstice on Wednesday 21st October. Voyager of the Seas will arrive back home on Thursday 5thNovember, before new ship Explorer of the Seas arrives in Fremantle on Friday 13th November to kick off her maiden Australian season. Explorer of the Seas arrives to her home port of Sydney for the first time on Saturday 28th November where she will historically rendezvous with her identical sister ship Voyager of the Seas in Sydney Harbour. Brisbane will welcome Legend of the Seas to her new home on Tuesday 8th December. Meanwhile Azamara Quest’s maiden Australian port of call will be Darwin on Monday 28th December, before she arrives in Cairns on Monday 4th January 2016 for her first local cruise.
Royal Caribbean International Season Highlights:
For her inaugural season, Explorer of the Seas will sail out of Sydney and Perth and feature a wide variety of itineraries, ranging from three- to 16-nights to the South Pacific, New Zealand, around Australia and sampler cruises. Itineraries include:
- A 10-night repositioning cruise from Singapore to Perth on 3rd November 2015 which calls at Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi and Phuket.
- A spectacular Australia and New Zealand cruise leaving Perth on 13th November 2015 and ending in Sydney 16-nights later.
- Two three-night sampler cruises departing Sydney, giving cruisers a taste of Explorer of the Seas during her maiden season. The ship will also offer a short four-night return cruise to Hobart.
- Two 13-night cruises that offer a combination of New Zealand and the South Pacific islands.
- Three 11-night cruises to New Zealand which call at Auckland, Wellington, Picton, Tauranga and Napier.
- Another 11-night New Zealand cruise for enthusiasts of the South Island including the beautiful Milford Sounds region.
- A 12-night New Zealand cruise departing Sydney 12th April 2016, and calling at Picton, Wellington, Napier, Tauranga and Auckland.
- Eight-, Nine- and 10-night South Pacific Island cruises with calls at New Caledonia and Vanuatu.
- A mega 24-night Transpacific cruise from Sydney to Seattle, Washington. Departing on 23rd April 2016, the sailing calls at the South Pacific gems of New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji before continuing her repositioning journey with calls at Hawaii.
For her fourth season down under, Voyager of the Seas will offer five new ports of call including the Isle of Pines (New Caledonia), Lifou (Loyalty Islands), Mystery Island (Vanuatu), The Whitsundays (Australia) and Bay of Islands (New Zealand). Highlights of her sailings include:
- A 14-night cruise from Singapore to Sydney departing 22nd October 2015. This sailing will include the ship’s maiden call to The Whitsundays, as well as calls at Kuala Lumpur, Darwin and Brisbane.
- Two 13-night Pacific Island Fusion cruises which uniquely combine calls to New Caledonia and Vanuatu with New Zealand.
- Two 12-night South Pacific and Fiji cruises calling at New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji.
- Three 10-night South Pacific sailings combining Noumea with the new ports of Isle of Pines, Lifou and Mystery Island. A 10-night South Pacific cruise will also be offered which combines Noumea with Fiji.
- Shorter South Pacific options include one seven-night and two eight-night cruises.
- For the Christmas and New Year school holiday period, Voyager of the Seas will offer a 10-, 11- and 14-night New Zealand cruise
- This season the ship will also offer a seven-night Tasmania cruise and an eight-night Queensland cruise.
- Voyager of the Seas leaves Australia on 16th April 2016 with a 14-night Sydney to Singapore cruise visiting Brisbane, Darwin, Kuala Lumpur and ending with an overnight stay in Singapore.
Radiance of the Seas will sail from Sydney and Perth with a wide variety of itineraries, ranging from four- to 18-nights to the South Pacific, Queensland, Tasmania, around Australia and New Zealand. Voyagers for the summer season include:
- A 17-night transpacific cruise from Honolulu to Sydney on 21st September 2015 which calls at French Polynesia and New Zealand.
- Six South Pacific cruises ranging in duration from eight- to 12-nights including the inaugural call for Radiance of the Seas into Mare, New Caledonia during her 12-night New Year’s cruise.
- Two circumnavigations of Australia departing 1st November 2015 and 25th February 2016 – a 16-night ‘Top End’ cruise or a 16-night south coast.
- Four-, six- and seven-night cruises to Tasmania.
- Visit the Whitsundays, Cairns, Port Douglas, Willis Island and Brisbane on the ship’s 10-night Queensland sailing departing 8th February 2016.
- Radiance of the Seas leaves Australia on 3rd April 2016 with an 18-night Sydney to Honolulu cruise visiting Picton, Wellington, Papeete, Moorea, Bora Bora and Honolulu.
Revitalised in February 2013, Legend of the Seas will offer an array of 17 attractive itineraries ranging from two- to 14-nights to the South Pacific islands, Queensland and New Zealand during her maiden season sailing out of Brisbane. Highlights including:
- An 18-night repositioning cruise from Hong Kong to Brisbane departing 20th November 2015 which calls at Manila, Phillipines; Puerto Princesa, Philippines; Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia; Bali; Darwin; Cairns and Whitsundays.
- Nine South Pacific cruises ranging from eight- to 10-nights calling at ports in New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Loyalty Islands.
- A further two 11-night cruises incorporate the South Pacific islands and Fiji.
- One 14-night cruise to New Zealand which calls at Auckland, Tauranga, Napier, Wellington, Akaroa, Dunedin and Dusky/Doubtful/Milford Sounds.
- Visit the Whitsundays, Cairns (overnight) and Willis Island on two seven-night Queensland sailings.
- One two-night sampler cruise, giving cruisers a taste of Legend of the Seas.
- The ship wraps up her season on 20th April 2016 with an 18-night Brisbane to Hong Kong cruise visiting the Whitsundays, Cairns, Darwin, Bali, Kota Kinabalu, Puerto Princessa and Manila.
Celebrity Cruises Season Highlights:
The modern luxury Celebrity Solstice will offer a range of eight- to 18-night itineraries around Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, departing from Auckland, Sydney and Perth. Highlights of Celebrity Solstice’s 2015/16 season include:
- An 18‐night Trans Pacific cruise from Honolulu to Sydney departing on 2 October 2015 which calls at Hawaii, French Polynesia and New Zealand.
- Three eight‐night South Pacific cruises including an Easter sailing and a NEW New Year’s holiday cruise with Celebrity Solstice’s inaugural call to Mystery Island, Vanuatu.
- Two 12‐night South Pacific cruises that include Fiji.
- Five 12‐night open‐jaw cruises between Sydney and Auckland – 3 Sydney to Auckland and 2 Auckland to Sydney – including an Auckland to Sydney Christmas cruise.
- One 14‐night Sydney to Auckland cruise, and one 14‐night Auckland to Sydney cruise.
- An 18‐night Australia and New Zealand cruise from Auckland to Perth which can be combined with the following 17‐night ‘Top End’ Round Australia cruise from Perth to Sydney to create a 35‐night circumnavigation of Australia cruise.
- An 18‐night Trans Pacific cruise from Sydney to Honolulu on 9 April 2016.
This year also sees the return of another Aussie favourite, Celebrity Millennium, who will call by Australia during two sailings in her Asian season.
- A 16-night Singapore to Sydney sailing which visits Bali, Darwin, Cairns and Brisbane before arriving in Sydney.
- An 18-night Sydney to Honolulu Transpacific cruise that calls at Lautoka, Suva, Bora Bora, Moorea, Papeete and Honolulu.
Azamara Club Cruises Season Highlights:
Azamara Quest will offer five local cruises during the boutique cruise lines first Australian season.With smaller ships that are able to go to places other cruise ships can’t, Azamara Club offers longer stays, more overnight calls (O/N) and night touring, travellers have the opportunity to truly experience a destination – taking in the sights, sounds and flavours of local cultures in every port.Highlights of the inaugural season include:
- A 14-night Bali & Barrier Reef Voyage departing 22nd December 2015 and sailing from Benoa, Bali (O/N) to Cairns (O/N) via Lombok and Komodo, Indonesia; Darwin, Thursday Island, Cooktown and Port Douglas.
- A 10-night Great Barrier Reef Voyage from Cairns to Sydney (O/N) departing 5 January 2016 and calling at Townsville, Hardy Reef the Great Barrier Reef , Hamilton Island in the Whitsundays, Mooloolaba, Brisbane and Newcastle.
- 16-night Australia & New Zealand sailing from Sydney (O/N) to Auckland which visits Melbourne, Port Arthur, Hobart (O/N), Milford Sound, Dunedin, Akaroa, Picton, Napier and Tauranga (O/N).
- A 13-night voyage from Auckland back to Sydney (O/N) via Bay of Islands, Tauranga, Napier, Wellington (O/N), Picton, Akaroa, Dunedin and Milford Sound.
- Azamara Quest completes her maiden Australian season with a 17-night Great Barrier Reef and Bali cruise departing Sydney on 13 February 2016 and calls at Hamilton Island, Cairns (O/N), Port Douglas, Cooktown, Thursday Island, Darwin and Komodo before arriving in Bali (O/N).