Royal Caribbean International kicked off a major Australian cruise season on Friday, as regional vice president for Australia & South East Asia, Gavin Smith, and his team met industry and media guests at the Customs House, Circular Quay, to celebrate the coming arrival of the line’s newest ship, Explorer of the Seas.
Explorer of the Seas has departed Barcelona on its maiden voyage to Australian shores. The Royal Caribbean team also previewed the upcoming local cruise season and marked the arrival of Radiance of the Seas into Sydney – the line’s first ship for the season.
Big things are happening. All three Royal Caribbean brands will be in Australia for the first time with Azamara Club Cruises’ debut here. Voyager-class ships will be based in Sydney, including the new Explorer of the Seas. Legend of the Seas will be the line’s first Brisbane-based ship.
As well as Smith, Royal Caribbean’s managing director Singapore and South East Asia, Sean Treacy, and commercial director Australasia and South East Asia, Adam Armstrong, were at the Customs House function.
Armstrong outlined highlights of the coming season, heralded by the arrival of Radiance of the Seas to Sydney – “the first of seven of the biggest, youngest and most exceptional cruise ships to sail local waters this summer”.
For the first time ever, all three Royal Caribbean Lines (RCL) Cruises brands will be based down under, with Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and new arrival Azamara Club Cruises offering a range of 95 itineraries around Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Asia.
RCL will carry a quarter of a million guests over the season with almost 60,000 of them coming from overseas countries including the USA, Canada, UK and Germany.
“Today marks the start of a record-breaking season in which we will double our guest capacity, introduce a new cruise brand to the region and offer a total of seven ships – around 20% of RCL’s global fleet,” Smith said.
“For nearly a decade we have delivered the world’s biggest and best ships to Australians, offering them a cutting edge cruise product and a style of holiday that they would previously have had to travel overseas to
Already an Australian favourite, the destination-focused Azamara Club Cruises brand will sail in Australia for the first time this summer. Normally based in Europe and Asia, the 686-passenger Azamara Quest arrives in Darwin on 28 December 2015 as the first of three new ships to join the local fleet this season.
Sydney’s biggest summer cruise line, Royal Caribbean International, will welcome Explorer of the Seas, which sets sail from Barcelona today en route to Sydney. The 3800-passenger megaliner will take the title of Australia’s largest cruise ship from her twin sister, Voyager of the Seas, and the ships will meet in Sydney Harbour on Saturday evening on 28 November 2015 for a historic big-ship harbour rendezvous.
Both Voyager Class vessels are the largest cruise ships based in the southern hemisphere and have recently emerged from a combined USD 160 million bow-to-stern facelift, equipping them with new features such as the FlowRider surf simulator and revolutionary Interior “Virtual” Balconies.
Finally, Royal Caribbean International will base a ship in Brisbane for the first time. From 8 December 2015, Queenslanders will have their very own world-class ship, Legend of the Seas, which will sail from Portside Wharf, Hamilton with no less than 15 itineraries.
The seven ships will make 185 port calls and 85 turnarounds in Australia this season, which is expected to inject more than AUD 185 million into the local economy in passenger spending alone.
Edited by Peter Needham