The upcoming cruise itinerary will be one of Australia’s busiest, with ship numbers exceeding pre-pandemic levels.
Australia is sailing towards a spectacular summer cruise season, with new ships, new cruise lines and more than 1,800 port calls in destinations around the country.
Fremantle will host 28 cruise liners up till June next year.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) managing director Australasia Joel Katz said the 2023-24 season was likely to be one of Australia’s busiest, with the number of ships visiting the region set to exceed pre-pandemic levels.
“Australia will welcome around 70 cruise ships over the 2023-34 season, which is well above the 60 or so scheduled to visit in 2019-20,” Mr Katz told Business News.
“Together, these ships will spend a total of 1,848 port days in Australia – 18 per cent more than in 2019-20 – resulting in billions of dollars in passenger spending in communities around the Australian coast.”
Among newcomers to Australia this year will be Virgin Voyages, Disney Cruise Line and Scenic, each of which will deploy ships in this region for the first time.
“Australia has become one of the most vibrant cruise regions in the world, and this means more options than ever.”
A total of 27 CLIA cruise lines will operate ships in Australian waters over the coming summer season and into 2024, including the following.
• Azamara Cruises’ Azamara Journey will sail a variety of cruises in the region, arriving in Geraldton in mid-December then sailing the Great Australian Bight with visits to Albany, Esperance and Kangaroo Island, before making its way across the Tasman for a series of New Zealand voyages.
• Coral Expeditions operates three Australia-flagged expedition ships in Australia – Coral Discoverer (72 passengers), Coral Adventurer and Coral Geographer (120 passengers) – which offer small-group itineraries in the Kimberley, Great Barrier Reef, Tasmania, and the Torres Strait.
• Crystal has undertaken a multi-million-dollar refurbishment of the Crystal Symphony, which will dock in Fremantle on December 6 on the first of five voyages in local waters, including overnight stays in Adelaide, Sydney, Auckland and Melbourne for New Year’s Eve. Crystal Serenity is expected in Fremantle in March as part of a 125-night 2024 World Cruise.
• All three Cunard ships – Queen Elizabeth, flagship Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria – will call into Australian ports with all but the latter calling at Fremantle.
• Holland America Line’s Volendam will visit Fremantle in February and Royal Caribbean’s giant Brilliance of the Seas will call on March 1.
• Oceania Cruises’ Regatta will pay a visit on January 10.
• P&O Cruises Australia will have nearly 90 sailings over summer on its three ships – Pacific Adventure, Pacific Encounter and Pacific Explorer – with Explorer calling at Fremantle on seven occasions during April and May next year.
• PONANT luxury expedition ships Le Lapérouse and Le Soléal have been operating in the Kimberley region since April, as well as the superyacht Le Ponant, which is just finishing the Kimberley season. Le Lapérouse finished its Kimberley season early in October but will return in April.
Also in the Kimberley will be Scenic Luxury Cruises’ ultra-luxury Scenic Eclipse II, which will be in Australia and the South Pacific region for the first time from April 2024.
Scenic Eclipse II is the first cruise operator to offer submersible underwater exploration in the Great Barrier Reef and the most expansive discovery program in the Kimberley region.
• Silversea will bring Silver Muse, Silver Shadow and Silver Whisper to Australia from December to March, with Silver Whisper calling in Fremantle in December.
The ultra-luxury line offers almost three dozen voyages in Australia and New Zealand, including visits to Tasmania and destinations in the South Pacific and Asia.
• March, Ambassador Cruise Line’s ship Ambiance calls at Fremantle as part of a 120-night world cruise visiting 34 ports in 24 countries covering 34,759 nautical miles.