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Royal Caribbean tests port stop in Wollongong as possible homeport alternative to Sydney


Royal Caribbean is testing out a new homeport in Australia at Wollogong's Port Kembla Harbour that could replace Sydney.

Photo by Sap

Radiance of the Seas will make a port stop here in October 2016 as part of a 7-night East Australian Coast and Tasmania cruise.

Royal Caribbean Regional Vice President Gavin Smith says Radiance of the Seas' stop here is the first step in a possible new partnership between the cruise line and the port, "I’m thrilled to announce we will be bringing one of the largest and most feature-packed mega liners in Australian waters to the South Coast of NSW, when Port Kembla becomes the newest destination for Radiance of the Seas."

"Including Port Kembla on our itineraries will provide our guests the opportunity to sample all that Wollongong and the South Coast has to offer. At the same time, it will give us the chance to investigate Port Kembla as an alternative home port, as an overflow to congestion in Sydney Harbour."

Royal Caribbean is particularly interested in Wollongong as an alternative home port because of the congestion problem in Sydney harbor.

Royal Caribbean opens bookings for Ovation of the Seas Australia and New Zealand cruises


Royal Caribbean opened bookings for its third Quantum-class cruise ship, Ovation of the Seas today.  Guests can now book cruises for the ship's maiden season in Australia and New Zealand.

Ovation of the Seas will arrive in Australia on December 6, 2016 when she docks in Perth.  Ovation of the Seas will be the largest cruise ship to ever be homeported in Australia.

After arriving in Australia, Ovation of the Seas will visit Adelaide and Hobart, before arriving in Sydney to begin her official Australian season.

Ovation of the Seas will offer four sailings from Sydney during her summer season starting from December 15, 2016, including:

  • A 15-night New Zealand cruise beginning with an overnight in Sydney on December 15, 2016 followed by calls at Hobart, the Milford Sounds region, Dunedin, Wellington, Picton, Tauranga and Auckland.
  • A 10-night New Year cruise around New Zealand departing December 30, 2016, with calls at the Milford Sound region, Dunedin, Wellington, Napier and Picton.
  • A 14-night cruise during the January school holidays with visits to Bay of Islands, Tauranga, Auckland, Wellington, Picton, Dunedin, and the Milford Sounds region.
  • Ovation of the Seas leaves Australia on January 23, 2017 with a 14-night Sydney to Singapore cruise visiting Brisbane, Darwin and Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang).

Royal Caribbean commercial director for Royal Caribbean Australia & South East Asia, Sea Treacy, commented on the arrival of Ovation down under, "At USD$1 billion, Ovation of the Seas represents the single largest investment in Australia and New Zealand cruising by any cruise line. This ship truly ignites the imagination about what is possible on a cruise holiday – from skydiving in the middle of the ocean, robot bartenders, to North Star, an observation capsule that transports you more than 90 metres above the sea providing stunning 360 degree views."

"Being the imaginative and adventure-loving nation that we are, it is not surprising that over 20,000 Aussies have pre-registered their interest since we first announced her local deployment. Ovation of the Seas’ first season will be historic and we can’t wait for Australians to experience the world’s most advanced ship right on our doorstep," Treacy said.

"In her first season alone, Ovation of the Seas is projected to inject more than $20million into the Australian economy with 14 total calls across the country, and almost 30,000 guests are expected to experience the new generation of cruise ship. Some of the other delights her guests can look forward to include bumper cars, a circus school, spectacular shows in the custom-built Two70 entertainment venue, 18 different dining options including Jamie’s Italian by Jamie Oliver, Broadway shows and high speed internet."

Royal Caribbean extends Explorer of the Seas' Australia cruise season


Royal Caribbean has added two new cruises to the end of Explorer of the Seas' season in Australia, keeping the ship down under for a little bit longer.

In April 2016, guests can choose from a 12-night New Zealand itinerary and a 24-night transpacific voyage from Sydney to Seattle.

Passengers who were booked on the repositioning cruise to Alaska have been offered, "a range of alternative itineraries to rebook" according to Cruise Critic.

The New Zealand cruise will make stops at Picton, Wellington, Napier, Tauranga and Auckland.

The 24-night transpacific cruise will make stops at Nomea, Vanuatu's Mystery Island and Vila, Suva, Honolulu and Lahaina before ending in Seattle, Washington.

Ovation of the Seas will cruise to Australia in winter 2016-2017


Royal Caribbean announced that Ovation of the Seas, the third Quantum-class cruise ship, will be homeported in Sydney, Australia for the winter of 2016-2017.

When she arrives, Ovation of the Seas will become the largest cruise ship to ever sail out of Australia and will also be the most technologically advanced ship in the region.

Ovation of the Seas will be the fifth ship in the Royal Caribbean Australian fleet for winter 2016-17, joining four other Royal Caribbean ships:Voyager of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas in Sydney and Legend of the Seas in Brisbane.

Additional details for the Royal Caribbean’s winter 2016-17 season will be revealed at the end of April.

“Royal Caribbean has been breaking the boundaries in Australian cruising since we arrived in 2007 but today, we have completely changed the face of the cruise industry, making the single largest investment in Australia by any cruise line,” said Gavin Smith, regional vice president, Royal Caribbean, Asia Pacific. “Ovation of the Seas will completely redefine the idea of cruising in Australia, taking the industry to the next level by offering a host of incredible never-before-seen features and technologies. This demonstrates our belief in, and long term commitment to, the Australian cruising market.”

Royal Caribbean failing to attract Chinese cruisers in Australia yet


Royal Caribbean Regional Vice President, Asia Pacific, met with Australian officials to discuss the cruise market and attracting more Chinese tourists to Australian cruises was the first question raised.

Smith indicated despite the fact Royal Caribbean already serves over 300,000 Chinese cruise passengers each year, getting the Chinese market to try cruises out of Australia remains a hurdle.

“We haven’t got a proposition in the Chinese market for cruising from Australia. I can’t say it is in our short-term plan,” says Smith.

“(But) We stand better placed than anybody to cater to that market because of our activity in that market already, but we haven’t really created a product.”

Smith says the problem for cruising from Australia for the Chinese market is the lack of port density. “The market wants a port every day and unfortunately with the distance we struggle to do a port every day. And that is one of the limitations at the moment for that market. When they better understand cruising and they can relax then they will probably take some of our longer itineraries.”

Royal Caribbean increases brand marketing in Australia to differentiate itself


The cruise business in Australia is booming but Royal Caribbean's research shows that customers down under are most concerned about price and don't really care who they sail with.  This is has lead Royal Caribbean to invest more in brand marketing to separate itself from the competition.

Royal Caribbean Commercial Director Sean Treacy told Mumbrella the research showed people did not look at brand at all.

"What was really surprising, and frankly a little damaging to our egos, was that people who are new to cruising can’t tell one cruise brand from another,” he said. “They are merely comparing one big white ship with another and they find it difficult to tell the difference between the likes of us, Princess Cruises and most surprising, P&O."

Royal Caribbean took the research as a "wake up call" to how they were marketing in the Australia market and as a result will be ramping up its brand marketing to increase awareness.

Part of that initiative is increasing its advertising reach beyond print and search and to start local television ads.  The new campaign is called, "It's Royal Caribbean Time".

Royal Caribbean will also increase its social media presence and will run a competition on Facebook offering 50 places on a one-night cruise in December.

Royal Caribbean's Legend of the Seas to go to Australia in 2015-2016


Royal Caribbean will send Legend of the Seas to Brisbane, Australia for five months in 2015 through 2016.

Legend of the Seas will offer cruises throughout Southeast Asia.  She will start out in Singapore in summer season and then move to Brisbane for the winter.

Legend of the Seas will join Mariner of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas while in Australia.  

​The move is aimed at addressing the growing demand for cruises in the Australian cruise market.  This will be part of the largest deployment ever for Royal Caribbean to Australia.

Legend of the Seas 2015-2016 Southeast Asia and Australia cruises will go on sale May 21, 2014.

Royal Caribbean announces Australia and South Pacific cruises for 2015-2016


Royal Caribbean announced today it will send Explorer of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas to Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific for the 2015-2016 winter season.

Royal Caribbean’s winter 2015-16 Australia, New Zealand and South Pacific season will open for reservations on April 29, 2014.

We had reported earlier Royal Caribbean was sending Explorer of the Seas to Australia and Royal Caribbean's announcement today solidified those plans.

From November 2015 through April 2016, Explorer of the Seas will primarily sail 11- and 14-night New Zealand cruises, with up to seven ports of call in New Zealand. Explorer of the Seas also will offer three- and four-night cruises in November 2015 and in February and March 2016.

Voyager of the Seas will sail eight- to 12-night South Pacific and Fiji cruises, all round-trip from Sydney.  Voyager of the Seas also will sail a 13-night South Pacific and New Zealand cruise on November 5, 2015, which will call at Bay of Islands and Auckland in New Zealand, as well as a seven-night Tasmania cruise on November 28, which will feature an overnight at Hobart, as well as call at Melbourne, Australia. 

Radiance of the Seas will offer a variety of itineraries to the South Pacific and Fiji, New Zealand, and throughout Australia. Guests can choose eight- to 14-night South Pacific itineraries from December 2015 through January 2016, or circumnavigate Australia in November 2015 and from late-February through March, 2016 – each comprising a 16-night New Zealand and southern Australia sailing from Sydney to Perth (Fremantle), followed by a 16-night northern Australia and Bali cruise back to Sydney. Radiance of the Seas also will sail four- to seven-night Tasmania cruises, departing December 11, 2015, and February 18 and March 28, 2016, and a 10-night Queensland cruise, departing February 8, 2016. 

If you enjoy re-positioning cruises, Explorer of the Seas will take guests on a 10-night Singapore to Perth itinerary, departing November 3, 2015, followed by a 16-night southern Australia and New Zealand cruise that arrives in Sydney on Nov. 29 for an overnight stay. The ship reverses these itineraries at the end of the season, departing from Sydney on April 12 and from Perth (Fremantle) to Singapore in late April.

Voyager of the Seas also will reposition between Singapore and Sydney on 14-night northern Australia itineraries on October 22, 2015, and April 16, 2016, with the former featuring an overnight in Singapore.

Radiance of the Seas’ trans-Pacific crossing will combine Hawaii with Australia or Canada on a 10-night Hawaii cruise from Vancouver, B.C. and subsequent 18-night, trans-Pacific itinerary to Sydney, departing September 11 and 21, 2015, respectively. A return trans-Pacific cruise will sail from Sydney to Hawaii on April 3, 2016, followed by an 11-night Vancouver-bound sailing on April 20. 

Royal Caribbean to send Explorer of the Seas to Australia to replace Rhapsody of the Seas in 2015


Royal Caribbean will send Explorer of the Seas to Australia for the 2015-2016 cruise season to compliment sister ship Voyager of the Seas.

Explorer of the Seas will replace Rhapsody of the Seas, which has been a fixture in Australia since 2007.

Explorer of the Seas, a Voyager class cruise ship, was previously announced to be going to Europe for April through September 2015 and will begin offering cruises in Australia starting in November 2015.

Royal Caribbean made the announcement in an email sent to members of its Crown & Anchor loyalty program.

Radiance of the Seas will also return to the region again for the 2015-16 season, the newsletter reveals.

For Rhapsody of the Seas, 2014/2015 will be its last season down under.

Royal Caribbean’s Australasian itineraries for 2015/16 will go on sale at the end of the month.

Voyager of the Seas returns to Sydney, Australia


Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas, the largest cruise ship in Australia, has returned to Sydney today to begin her second season there.

Voyager of the Seas will offer a two-night "sampler" cruise before embarking on a 14-day cruise to the Pacific Islands and New Zealand before returning to Sydney.

Luke Aerowsmith, Voyager of the Seas' cruise director, says the ship's offerings are catered towards the Australian passengers' tastes.

"We have fewer deck chairs out on deck for Australians," he said. "Brits like to spend all day lying in the sun but Australians don't. But they do like to have a barbecue out on the deck so we'll do that.

Voyager of the Seas is based in China during the northern summer and travelled to Sydney via Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Darwin and Brisbane.

Adam Armstrong, Royal Caribbean's commercial director for Asia-Pacific, says the company would like to bring more big ships to Australia, but the country's infrastructure lags behind the needs of modern megaliners.

"We really need to be catering for more of these big ships," Armstrong said. "Rather than them being an anomaly, making one call every two weeks as it is with this ship, we want the facilities in Sydney to be capable of taking big ships every day of the week, every year. So there is a bit of catch-up to be done."