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.