Cruise & Ferry Review - Spring/Summer 2023

77 Pacific Explorer returned to Sydney on 18 April 2022 Coral Princess in Brisbane and Grand Princess in Melbourne. The brand will also offer a new range of shore excursions, such as mountain hikes, visiting wildlife sanctuaries and exploring caves and beaches, all of which will be led by local experts. Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Splendor has been departing from Sydney on a variety of itineraries ranging from three to 11 days in length. The brand’s latest ship, Carnival Luminosa, joined the fleet from sister brand Costa Cruises in November 2022 and is currently homeporting in Brisbane. The clement weather in Australia is generating international tourism too. “Cunard is carrying out its longestever local season of cruises in Australia during the 2022-2023 austral summer season,” says Fitzgerald. “Queen Mary 2, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria are operating on Cunard’s inaugural gardening and culinary-themed voyages. Meanwhile, Seabourn Odyssey is sailing between Australia and New Zealand until March 2023 and Seabourn Sojourn will be visiting 14 Australian ports as part of its world cruise in March.” Holland America Line’s Westerdam and Noordam have also been offering cruises from Sydney since November 2022. The brand’s ship Zuiderdam, which is currently operating a world voyage, also made six calls in Australia during February 2023. “Between them, the three ships will make more than 60 calls to ports around Australia, including 20 maiden visits,” says Fitzgerald. The rise in cruise bookings demonstrates how guests are responding to Carnival Australia’s offerings. For example, P&O Cruises’ Holiday Report found that 47 per cent of Australians surveyed by market research firm PureProfile would rather spend no more than five hours travelling at a time, which contributes to the current popularity of Australian domestic cruises. The survey also found that 40 per cent of Australians are choosing to book with cruise lines based on the additional cost to participate in activities when they reach their destinations. This suggests the growth of all-inclusive packages in 2023. “Since we returned to cruising, our guests are understanding and adhering to our strict and robust Covid protocols, which now play a big part in safety for guests and crew,” says Fitzgerald. “Our guests’ ongoing support for our Covid measures really speaks to the demand we’re seeing from Australians who, after two years of Covid interruptions, are enjoying a well-earned break at sea.” Photos: P&O Australia