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Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas will be largest ship ever in Australia


The big news today is Voyager of the Seas is going to China in 2012 but after she is done in China, Royal Caribbean is sending Voyager of the Seas to Australia for a while, where she will dwarf any other cruise ship that has ever been based in that country.

Voyager of the Seas will offer cruises for five months that will sail out of Sydney and Fremantle, Australia beginning in November 2012.  Cruises will offer itineraries that will visit destinations in the South Pacific including New Zealand and Australia.

Royal Caribbean's addition of Voyager of the Seas will add another ship to Radiance of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas, which has been offering cruises in Australia for a number of years already.

Rhapsody of the Seas to make doubles calls to Newcastle next season


Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas is building upon its success in 2010-2011 by promising a bigger and better season in 2011-12 with double the number of port visits

The port of Newcastle in Australia has been a very popular destination with Royal Caribbean guests as the season has sold out on cruises that have stopped in the New South Wales town.

Royal Caribbean Australia Commercial Manager Adam Armstrong is happy to know their guests are finding what they want, “Royal Caribbean Cruises searches the world for amazing destinations to give our guests a truly memorable holiday experience. Newcastle has it all: beautiful beaches, a buzzing harbour and city life with plenty to see and do, and most of all - friendly, welcoming residents. It is no wonder Lonely Planet voted Newcastle one of the top ten cities in the world. It is a popular stop with most of our guests disembarking to explore the city and beyond to the Hunter Valley, returning with only good things to report. It is why Royal Caribbean has doubled the port visits to Newcastle when Rhapsody of the Seas returns for the next cruising season."

When she returns in November, there will be four port calls in total in her 2011-12 season.  THe popular Newcastle stop is part of the 11 night Queensland itinerary.

Royal Caribbean finalizing Australia plans for 2012/2013


Royal Caribbean is close to finalizing plans to send three of its cruise ships back to Australia for the 2012/2013 cruise season.   Royal Caribbean managing director for Australia, Gavin Smith, said he is certain that Royal Caribbean will have three ships in Australia.

The decision was easy to make after strong bookings for the 2011/2012 seas have made Rhapsody of the Seas, Radiance of the Seas and Celebrity Century quite popular.  It's expected that all three ships will return for the following season to build upon its success down under, so far.

Smith said adding more ships to the area this year has created challenges, but nothing Royal Caribbean cannot handle, “The pressure is maintaining strong forward booking patterns to give the company confidence that they can continue this level of deployment. The continued success of our deployment and our pricing gains us confidence with the parent company. They are continuing to support our operation with the required level of investment. Without question we will have three ships in Australia in 2012/13 and have made the port bookings."

Smith expects to have the plans for Australia in 2012/2013 finalized by March.

Royal Caribbean making progress in Australia


Royal Caribbean is reporting travel agents and consumers in Australia have become more familiar with the Royal Caribbean brand in recent time, but there are still challenges ahead as the cruise line looks to gain an even larger share of the cruise market down under.

Royal Caribbean Cruises managing director, Gavin Smith, said the increased capacity planned over the next 12 months, including the return of Celebrity Cruises and the debut of Radiance of the Seas, will coincide with Royal Caribbean putting on more field sales staff to drive its message home to agents.

Just how far has Royal Caribbean come?  One year ago, there were about 40,000 beds available but today that number is closer to 100,000 beds to sell.

Helping increase the inventory is Radiance of the Seas, which features 50% of its cabins having a balcony, which is important to the Australian cruise market.  Gavin Smith cites that Americans and British cruisers that go to Australia demand the balconies.

Rhapsody of the Seas makes maiden call to Australia


Australia’s youngest and newest superliner, Rhapsody of the Seas, sailed into Newcastle Harbour at Dyke Point for the first time.

Not only is she Royal Caribbean International’s first cruise ship to visit Newcastle, but she was also the first international cruise ship to arrive for the Australian cruising season when she sailed into Sydney harbour on Saturday.
“We’re very excited to have included Newcastle as one of our new ports of call. It’s an exciting destination for visitors and an excellent gateway to the Hunter Valley and beyond for our guests,” said Adam Armstrong, commercial manager, Royal Caribbean Cruises Australia Limited. “Each year more and more Australians step onboard Rhapsody of the Seas, and we are committed to growing our operations in the local market and adding new and exciting ports of call.”
Over 2,000 guests disembarked the ship yesterday and took a variety of shore tours, including the wineries of the Hunter Valley, as well as spending time in the city of Newcastle itself. Guests also included a large number of tourists travelling on the ship from America, Europe and Asia.
Rhapsody of the Seas will be Newcastle’s largest cruise ship visitor this season with a further call in the city on 25 March 2011 as part of her 11-night Tropical Queensland cruise.
The popular cruise ship has returned this year for her fourth consecutive summer cruise season operating out of Australia, offering a total of 17 cruises for 2010-11.
Approximately 35,000 passengers will travel on Rhapsody of the Seas for the 2010-11 season, visiting 16 cities across Australia and generating income for local communities as part of the travel industry’s fastest growing sectors.
In addition to Newcastle, her other maiden calls this season include Champagne Bay in Vanuatu and Lautoka in Fiji.

Rhapsody of the Seas heads to Australia


Royal Caribbean's Rhapsody of the Seas is heading to Australia to start service for the summer season. Rhapsody of the Seas departed Hawaii on September 29 and is heading for Australia to begin her fourth season in the land down under.  

Rhapsody of the Seas will head right for Sydney habor, where she is due to arrive on October 16 and will also have the distinction of being the first international cruise ship to arrive in Australia this season.  Rhapsody of the Seas is expected to carry over 35,000 guests from around the world on her itineraries.

Rhapsody has become a favorite in Australia, after completing a record season in 2009-2010 of sailing with a full compliment of guests every voyage. . Home ported in Sydney, Rhapsody of the Seas will sail 17 cruises and visit a number of new destinations, including maiden calls at Newcastle, NSW, Champagne Bay in Vanuatu and Lautoka in Fiji. Rhapsody also returns to cruise the South Pacific islands of New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji.

Royal Caribbean Australia Commercial Manager Adam Armstrong thinks Rhapsody of the Seas is a perfect fit for Australia, "Australia has truly embraced Rhapsody of the Seas since her arrival in 2007.  Her seasons down under go from strength to strength, with more and more Australians stepping onboard to experience our ‘Royal’ treatment.”

Rhapsody's trip to Australia from Hawaii will coincide with two important geographic events during her 16-night cruise across the Pacific.  First, she will pass the equator of the Earth between Hawaii and Tahiti.  Afterwards, guests onboard will "lose a day" as she passes the International Dateline after sailing west from Raiatea in French Polynesia.

Cruises generate over $1 million for a city


Royal Caribbean's Australasia managing director Gavin Smith says that a typical Royal Caribbean cruise that stops in Auckland, New Zealand can put $1.26 million into the local economy.  Royal Caribbean expects 6000 visitors to New Zealand in the 2010/11 season, rising to 36,000 in 2011/12 . Americans and Europeans made up about 70 per cent of guests.

Royal Caribbean's sister company Celebrity Cruises will have their 1800-passenger ship the Celebrity Century start or finish cruises out of Auckland from October 2011.

According to Smith, a full cruise ship helps create jobs in coaches, taxis, baggage handlers, customs and border control agencies that attended the pier and engagement with the airport and local hotels.

"We have local fresh produce provedoring requirements, we have fuel needs and we also have stevedoring needs because we'll do a full store in Auckland, in terms of container movements and the more industrial side of the business. The general figure that the cruise lines use is around a million dollars into the local economy on a turnaround day. And then you've got the additional upside of most of the Americans and Europeans and Australians that are getting on and off the ship will be buying one, two or three nights [accommodation] pre- or post cruise."

Smith also added that cruisers were more likely to spend money in the city on hotel stays because it was the place they would begin or end their cruise.