Carnival Australia has commenced its largest ever summer cruise season, with 19 ships set to make 310 calls to Australian ports, carrying a record 325,000 passengers.
The season, which runs from October 2012 to April 2013, will feature the Australian debut of Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Spirit, as well as maiden visits from two other ships under the Carnival Australia umbrella; Holland America’s Oosterdam and the Seabourn Quest.
Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 will also return to Australian waters, undertaking its first ever circumnavigation of New Zealand in a round-trip voyage from Sydney in March 2013.
Carnival Australia’s CEO Ann Sherry said the record season reflected Australians’ growing interest in cruise holidays.
“This cruise season we’ll carry more than triple the number of passengers who cruised with us eight years ago when Carnival Australia was first formed and had just seven ships sailing local waters,” Ms Sherry said. “We’ll be visiting more Australian ports than ever before, with 27 different towns and cities set to welcome our ships over the coming months.
“Collectively those visits will contribute more than AU$235 million (US$240m) to the Australian economy,” she added.
The start of Carnival Australia’s biggest cruise season follows a record-breaking year for the Australian cruise industry. In 2011, the total number of Australians taking a cruise holiday jumped 34% to a record 620,000.
Carnival Australia’s 19 ships include P&O Cruises’ Pacific Jewel, Pacific Dawn and Pacific Pearl, Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria, Princess Cruises’ Sun Princess, Dawn Princess, Sea Princess, Diamond Princess, Pacific Princess and Ocean Princess, P&O’s Aurora and Arcadia, Seabourn’s Odyssey and Quest, Carnival’s Carnival Spirit and Holland America’s Amsterdam, Volendam and Oosterdam liners.