Royal Caribbean International and Celebrity Cruises have wrapped up another record breaking cruise season, carrying more passengers down under from October 2014 to April 2015 than ever before. The bumper summer season saw five RCL Cruises ships home ported in Australia for the first time, offering 82 sailings in total.
Australia’s highest rated cruise line* had two modern luxury Celebrity Cruises’ ships based in Australia for the first time, Celebrity Solstice and Celebrity Century, carrying Australian guests on 27 sailings. Royal Caribbean International, the largest operator out of Sydney, welcomed home Voyager of the Seas, fresh from an US$80 million makeover along with Radiance of the Seas, and for the very last time Rhapsody of the Seas – carrying over 130,000 passengers on 55 itineraries for the season.
“Cruising in Australia is experiencing significant growth, and we were thrilled to have offered the biggest, most innovative and the highest rated ships sailing in local waters,” said Sean Treacy, commercial director, RCL Cruises Ltd, Australia & South East Asia.
“We carried more guests than ever before, and although it is bittersweet that we have farewelled Rhapsody of the Seas, our 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. And we are also very excited to welcome Azamara Club Cruises to our shores for the first time.”
2014/15 Season Facts
- Almost 500,000 tonnes of local produce was consumed
- The five local ships called 51 different ports around Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific
- The season saw the arrival of Australia’s first FlowRider surf simulator and industry-first virtual balcony staterooms with real time sights and sounds of the sea for interior staterooms when Voyager of the Seas arrived back home, fresh from an US$80 million revitalisation.
- Both Rhapsody of the Seas and Celebrity Century were farewelled from local waters for the very last time
The upcoming 2015/16 season will see RCL Cruises Ltd.’s local capacity increase by almost 50 percent with a total of six ships based locally. Royal Caribbean International will base its first ever ship in Brisbane, Legend of the Seas, while also adding new Voyager Class Explorer of the Seas to Sydney with Voyager of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas. Boutique cruise line Azamara Club Cruises will deploy its first ship to local waters, Azamara Quest, while Celebrity Solstice, Australia’s highest rated cruise ship* will sail her fourth local season.
RCL’s international cruise season will kick off with the arrival of Radiance of the Seas on Friday 9th October, followed by Celebrity Solstice on Wednesday 21st October. Voyager of the Seas will arrive back home on Thursday 5th November, before new ship Explorer of the Seas arrives in Perth 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. 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 also recently announced Australia will welcome the first ever brand new cruise ship when it deploys the $1.3 billion Ovation of the Seas to Sydney for the peak summer season from December 2016. Currently under construction in Germany, the Quantum Class megaliner will not only claim the title of the largest cruise ship to ever call Australia home – carrying almost 5,000 guests and 1,500 crew – but also the most technologically advanced. Ovation of the Seas redefines cruising in Australia, offering a host of incredible features and technologies, from an iFly sky diving experience, 18 distinct and different dining options – including Jamie Oliver’s first at sea – a robotic bar, more internet bandwidth than all other cruise ships combined, bumper cars and the North Star – a glass viewing capsule which transports guests more than 91 metres above the ship for breathtaking 360 degree views.
Bookings for Ovation of the Seas’ maiden Australian season open mid-way through 2015, but guests are encouraged to register their interest at www.royalcaribbean.com.au/Ovation to be the first to receive information on her sailings down under when details are announced.