Cruising for a summer holiday

If you’re thinking of going cruising this summer you won’t be alone - more than one million Australians took a cruise in 2015. That number is growing rapidly and the coming cruise season will be Australia’s biggest ever.

There will be 41 ships either based here or visiting here (up from 38 last summer) and they’ll be making about 10 per cent more port calls – or almost 900 in total – between the beginning of October and the end of April.

With more than half the ships offering return cruises from our shores, Australians will be able to take advantage of almost 400 round trip itineraries from local ports, a 20 per cent rise on last summer’s offerings.

The largest ship ever to visit Australia, Royal Caribbean’s 167,000-tonne Ovation of the Seas, which only launched in April, arrives in Fremantle on December 6 then Adelaide on December 11, Hobart on December 13 and Sydney on December 15. It carries almost 5000 passengers served by 1500 crew.

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Where will you cruise to this summer?

Another giant, the 3082-guest Emerald Princess, the largest Princess ship to sail from Australia, begins her inaugural Australian season when she arrives in Fremantle on November 8, followed by Melbourne on November 13 and Sydney on November 15.

At the other end of the scale, the smaller ultra-luxury Europa 2 and Seabourn Encore make their Australian debuts this summer. Three Cunard ocean liners will also be visiting Australia: the remastered flagship Queen Mary 2 will meet her younger sister Queen Elizabeth in Sydney on February 25. The Queen Victoria will be in Sydney on March 10-11, Wilsons Promontory on March 12 and Melbourne on March 13.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia has released a useful list of the ships that will be in Australia over summer – and has indicated which ships are on their first visit and which are being based here full time. Other ships are based here for the summer months only.

The large number of cruise ships ensures there are a lot of cabins to sell. There are some good deals around – check out WYZA Travel

Have you ever done a summer cruise? Where did you go?

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