As Australia again becomes one of the world's busiest cruise regions, its leading cruise company, Carnival Australia, is about to welcome its first international ship in another summer cavalcade of cruise ships.
Carnival Australia’s international season begins with the Sydney arrival on Sunday (October 20) of Holland America Line's Volendam -- one of 20 locally based, seasonal or visiting Carnival Australia ships sailing in Australian waters between now and the end of April.
Carnival Australia accounts for nearly two thirds of the 34 cruise ships that will be operating in Australian waters during cruise season from the start of this month to the end of April 2014.
Holland America Line -- one of seven iconic cruise brands that Carnival Australia represents in this region -- will ‘bookend’ Carnival Australia’s cruise season of international ships. On April 13, the cruise line’s Oosterdam will be the last ship from Carnival Australia’s international fleet to sail from Sydney as the peak cruise season begins to wind down.
Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry said six locally based ships are sailing full time from Australia – P&O Cruises’ Pacific Dawn, Pacific Jewel and Pacific Pearl, Princess Cruises’ Sea Princess and Dawn Princess and Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Spirit.
In September next year, Carnival Spirit will be joined by sister ship Carnival Legend for seasonal cruising from Sydney in 2014 and 2015.
“The peak summer cruise season is a massive mobile billboard highlighting cruising as a great holiday choice and the standout sector of Australian tourism,” Ms Sherry said.
"Cruise season represents months of cruising milestones for Carnival Australia with our ships scheduled to make 350 calls at Australian ports. These visits are emblematic of an industry that now generates almost three billion a year in total direct and indirect economic activity."
Cruise ship visits to regional ports, including Eden on the New South Wales far south coast, underlined the extent to which regional ports around Australia were increasingly participating in the benefits of cruising growth, Ms Sherry added.
NSW Minister for Roads and Ports Duncan Gay said the incredible growth of the cruise industry in Australia in recent years had added billions of dollars to the New South Wales and Australian economies.
“It is a very important industry to the economy of the city and the state,” Mr Gay said.
Highlights of Carnival Australia's summer cruise season include:
* Queen Mary 2's second circumnavigation of Australia in February-March next year and visits to Australia by all three Cunard Line Queens
* Maiden P&O Cruises’ ship calls to Robe, Port Lincoln and Kangaroo Island in South Australia
* Maiden calls by Seabourn Sojourn to Eden, Burnie, Geelong, Bunbury, Geraldton and Exmouth
* More than 150 roundtrip cruises from Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Fremantle across Carnival Australia's seven cruise brands.
Holland America Line Sales Director for Australia Tony Archbold said it was a singular honour for the cruise line to have the first and last international ship in Carnival Australia's summer cavalcade of ships.
"Holland America Line is very pleased to have its ships kick off and wrap up Carnival Australia’s summer cruise season,” Mr Archbold said.
“We are excitingly looking forward to our best season as we bring many guests from all over the world and take so many Australians to a multitude of great port cities around our amazing coast line."