Aussie bumper cruise season

Royal Caribbean (RCL) has announced such an impressive line-up of ships entering and leaving Australian ports that cruise pundits are calling the upcoming season ‘epic’.

Sister brands Azamara Club and Celebrity Cruises also add to the bumper crop of cruise ships hitting our shores.

Royal Caribbean’s Radiance of the Seas is the first international ship to return to Australia having done so on 6 October. Two other RCL mega-liners will also be based in Sydney for the summer. Along with Radiance, Ovation of the Seas is preparing for its longest season ever in Oz and, along with Explorer of the Seas, all three will offer 60 sailings ranging from three to 21 nights, and will call in at ports across Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific, Asia and North America (Hawaii), departing from Sydney, Melbourne, Auckland, Singapore, Honolulu and Seattle.

Foodies’ favourite Radiance of the Seas offers RCL’s first ever departure from Melbourne, as well as three one-way cruises to Auckland.

Celebrity Solstice returns to Australia and New Zealand for her seventh season, with 16 cruises to 37 ports of call in Australia, New Zealand, French Polynesia, Hawaii, New Caledonia, Fiji, Loyalty Islands, Tonga, Samoa, American Samoa and Vanuatu.

Itineraries range from nine to 18 nights, departing Sydney, Auckland, Fremantle and Honolulu, and will head out on four brand new South Pacific destinations in Tonga, Samoa and American Samoa. Celebrity Cruises will also introduce an overnight call in Hobart, and its first ever roundtrip sailing from Auckland in March next year.

Azamara returns for its fourth Aussie season, promising the line’s biggest year yet in Australia, with more local sailings from more ports than ever before.

Azamara Quest will return down under in December 2018 with maiden calls for the line to New Zealand’s Gisborne, Nelson, Kaikoura and the stunning Stewart Island nature reserve; with first-time departures from Perth and Melbourne, and its first international departure from Cairns.

Azamara also joins the party docking at Sydney Harbour for the 2019 New Year celebrations before heading off on a 15-night journey.

“Internationally, 2018 has been a huge year and we’re responding to that local love with some big announcements later in the season,” said RCL’s managing director of Asia Pacific, Susan Bonner.

“In March, we launched the biggest ship in the world, Symphony of the Seas, while July saw an identical sister join the Azamara fleet, Azamara Pursuit; and we’re not done yet. The cherry on the top will be Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Edge, a revolutionary ship we welcome this November.”

One thing’s for sure, there’ll be plenty of berths to go round!

Are you excited for the 2018–19 cruise season? Are you heading off on a cruise this year or next year? With which cruise line do you sail?

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