Arrivals & Departures Get ready for a record summer at sea

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Ovation of the Seas, with its 18 decks and extraordinary adventures onboard, is a brand new ship from Royal Caribbean and the first of the new ships to sail into Southampton this season.  PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday April 10, 2016. Photo credit should read: Chris Ison/PA Wire
Photo of Angie Tomlinson

From the biggest to the most luxurious ships, cruising in Australia this summer will be unmatched.

When Ovation of the Seas docks in Fremantle this December, it will be largest cruise ship to visit Australian shores in what's shaping up to be unprecedented summer of cruising.

According to industry body the Cruise Lines International Association, during this cruising season Australia will welcome its highest number of cruise ships ever, with more than 40 vessels sailing in local waters, including eight ships making their maiden visits Down Under.

There will be the largest – Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas – as well as the youngest and most luxurious ship ever to cruise to Australia, the boutique Seabourn Encore, which will arrive in Darwin two weeks after being officially named in Singapore.

CLIA Australasia commercial director Brett Jardine said a record 41 ships from CLIA member cruise lines would be based in Australia or visit local waters between October 1 to April 30, up from the 38 last season.

Between them, the ships will make almost 900 calls to ports around the country, a 10 per cent increase on last year’s port calls.

There will also be new ports of call, with ships making close to 70 maiden calls to coastal towns and cities.

With more than half the ships offering return cruises from Australian shores, Mr Jardine said Australians would be able to take advantage of nearly 400 round-trip itineraries from local ports.

He said the record season reflected the continuing surge in Australian cruise passenger numbers, as well as the nation’s growing popularity as an international cruise destination.  

Australia is the fourth largest source market for cruise passengers in the world. According to CLIA, more than one million Australians took a cruise in 2015.

Australian cruise passenger numbers have grown by almost 20 per cent annually over the past decade.

The first international ship to visit for the summer season will be Celebrity Solstice, which returns to Sydney on October 8.

Emerald Princess, the largest Princess ship to cruise from Australia this summer, will make its first Australian call in Fremantle on November 8.

Norwegian Star will make its debut with seven Australian calls.

Another first will be a round-trip cruise to South America from Australia: an 84-night trip aboard Princess Cruises’ Sea Princess departing from Sydney on January 11.

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