Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises celebrate end of record-breaking local cruise season
Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas makes her final call in Sydney tomorrow, officially marking the end of the summer cruise season for Australia – and Royal Caribbean’s biggest season yet. The cruise company has revealed that its three brands carried over 250,000 guests throughout the season from October 2015 to April 2016, an increase in passengers of 27 per cent year-on-year and representing an injection of more than $140 million in passenger spend into the Australian economy.
“With our three brands and their six locally based ships in Australia, this was our biggest and most varied season to date. The substantial growth demonstrates the success of our strategy in delivering the newest, most feature-packed and the most technologically advanced ships to our doorstep,” said Adam Armstrong, managing director, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd Australasia.
RCL Cruises, comprising Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises, introduced a record three new ships to the region during the 2015/16 season – Royal Caribbean’s Explorer of the Seas to Sydney and Legend of the Seas to Brisbane – as well as Azamara Quest, which marked the Australian debut of a brand new cruise line in Azamara Club Cruises.
“For the first time, we had our trifecta of three brands sailing in the region and we launched our first ever cruises from Brisbane. All up, our local ships represented 20% of RCL’s worldwide fleet – a very significant number and a testament to the strength of the Australian cruise market,” Armstrong continued.
In total, Australia welcomed seven RCL Cruises ships, including the southern hemisphere’s two largest cruise ships, Royal Caribbean’sExplorer of the Seas and her twin sister Voyager of the Seas. The Voyager Class ships bring over 3,800 guests per call, and together carried half of all RCL Cruises’ guests on Australian itineraries this season.
Explorer of the Seas made a dramatic arrival in Sydney for her inaugural season, reuniting with Voyager of the Seas in a historic harbour rendezvous – a meeting of the two most feature packed ships based in the region. Combined, the ships carried 10,000 passengers and crew and injected almost $1.6 million into the Sydney economy in passenger spend in one day alone.
Together with Radiance of the Seas and Legend of the Seas, home-ported in Brisbane for her inaugural season down under, the four locally-based ships in the Royal Caribbean International fleet sailed 72 itineraries, making 371 port calls in Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific and Asia.
Celebrity Solstice – the region’s highest rated cruise ship according to the Berlitz Cruising & Cruise Ships Guide 2016 and recently awarded Australia’s favourite cruise ship by the National Travel Industry Association – offered 16 sailings with 125 calls during her fourth consecutive Australian season. Meanwhile, Celebrity Millennium was the second Celebrity Cruises ship to call in Australia when she visited Darwin, Cairns, Brisbane and Sydney in March 2016.
Australia’s newest cruise line, Azamara Club Cruises made its debut down under with the boutique, 686-passenger ship Azamara Quest, calling 46 times at locations around Australia and New Zealand on five itineraries. The Azamara philosophy of delivering destination immersion saw Azamara Quest make five overnight calls and 14 late evening stays in port throughout her locally-based season, and the incredible bookings for Australian itineraries led the cruise line to commit to returning through 2018 with sister ship Azamara Journey.
The upcoming 2016/17 summer season will see close to 300,000 cruisers sailing on eight ships from Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Club Cruises, including onboard the highly anticipated US$1 billion Ovation of the Seas – Australia’s very first new-build, purpose-built for the region.
“We said it would be a record-breaking summer and we’re excited to see booking volumes beat our own projections. Australia and New Zealand’s appetite for cruising with us continues on a very positive trajectory, driven by strong early booking offers and the biggest and best ships in the region,” Adam continued.
In response to such significant demand, Royal Caribbean announced this month that Ovation of the Seas will now extend her maiden season in the region with four extra cruises during this forthcoming summer 2016/17 season.
As the newest, biggest and most technologically advanced cruise ship ever to be deployed to the region, Ovation of the Seas will offer onboard features like no other ship in Australia, including the North Star viewing capsule, iFly sky diving experience, Bionic Bar with robot bar tenders, 18 different restaurants including Jamie Oliver’s, and the FlowRider surf simulator. With each port of call, the ship will bring an unprecedented 6,400 passengers and crew.
For more information about Royal Caribbean International or to book a cruise, visit royalcaribbean.com.au, call 1800 754 500 or contact your travel agent.