Get Cruising!

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Cruise Growth Continues Despite Infrastructure Constraints

Australia has continued its long run of cruising growth with a total of 1.35 million Australians taking an ocean cruise during 2018, a slight increase on the previous year's record.

However, growth slowed to just 0.9 per cent year-on-year, according to the 2018 Ocean Source Market report for Australia released today by Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), reflecting capacity constraints associated with a shortage of berthing infrastructure in Sydney.

Despite the lower growth, the result still showed a higher number of Australians choosing a cruising holiday than ever before. Nearly one in every 17 Aussies, or 5.8 per cent of the population, took a cruise last year, giving Australia the highest market penetration rate of the world's major established cruise markets – ahead of the US (4.0%), the UK (3.0%) and Germany (2.8%).

Cruising in local waters (Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific) grew by just 0.1% over figures for 2017, reflecting current infrastructure constraints. But this was offset by growth of 3.4% in the number of Australians taking fly-cruise options in destinations further afield, indicating demand remains strong in the Australian market.

"Cruising continues to be exceptionally popular among Australian travellers after many years of growth and world-leading market penetration," said CLIA Australasia Managing Director Joel Katz. "A lack of berthing capacity in Sydney has hampered cruise lines' efforts to expand their operations in local waters, but the increasing number of Australians flying to ports overseas shows the market is still strong and holds great potential for the future."

CLIA's report says a subdued growth trend will continue in the short term into 2019, but it predicts a return to stronger growth in the near future.

"Cruise lines have already announced significant new vessel deployments in this region from the 2020-21 season, with smaller, older ships to be replaced with newer, larger options," Mr Katz said. "Combined with the construction of a new International Cruise Terminal in Brisbane and other projects announced in Cairns, Eden and Broome, this is expected to reignite growth in the Australian market."

Mr Katz said the development of new berthing facilities in Sydney remained the most urgent infrastructure priority for the cruise sector in Australasia, and that the industry looked forward to further announcements on the NSW Government's Cruise Development Plan.

Other findings from the 2018 Ocean Source Market report include:

NSW still represented more than half the Australian ocean cruise market (53%), but its share fell as popularity grew in other states, with Qld contributing 22% and Vic 13%.
The average age of the Australian cruise passenger remained steady at 49 years.
Growth in short domestic cruises lowered the average cruise length, which was down from 9.1 days in 2017 to 8.8 days in 2018.

In the inbound market, about 200,000 people came from other regions to cruise in Australasian waters in 2018, more than half from North America.

The majority of Australians cruised within Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific (76.6%). Europe/Mediterranean was the most popular long-haul destination (8.1%), followed by North America/Caribbean/Alaska/Hawaii (7.3%) and Asia (5.4%).

Worldwide, 28.5 million people took a cruise in 2018, a 6.7% increase on the previous year. This figure is forecast to break the 30 million barrier in 2019.

To download a copy of CLIA's 2018 Ocean Source Market report for Australia, click here

Thursday, 18 April 2019

Holland America brings you the world

The 145-year-old Dutch shipping line, now a Carnival brand, brings a luxury touch to their fleet of 15 mid-sized cruise ships all over the world.

While Holland America’s (HAL) unrivalled global reach extends across the globe with more than 470 ports of call, it’s here in Alaska where the venerable brand is in its element.

Claim as they might, no one other premium cruise line can match HAL’s coverage of this fabulous territory, filled with stunning scenery, photogenic wildlife and activities to match.

I’ve come all the way from Australia, just like many thousands of fellow Aussies do every year, to the crisp, clear air of this wilderness wonderland. Here, I’m aboard the ms Eurodam, HAL’s first Signature-class cruise ship which entered service in 2008.

And I’ve diligently preselected my shore excursions from the vast catalog offered to everyone who travels here - and on any HAL ship elsewhere in the world.

Even though I must watch my fellow fishers gloat over their prize king salmon during fishing excursion in Ketchikan, it’s is just one of countless shoreside offerings throughout Holland America’s network of port calls as we cruise serenely through the placid channels of Alaska’s Inside Passage.

Occasionally we stop to ogle the great glaciers while keeping an eye out for bears and moose as bald eagles wheel overhead.

During our stop in Juneau, I choose a thrilling hovercraft ride in a tiny 6-person machine. We skim across the water, mudflats and grassland as if it were nothing, all the way to the foot of the massive 56-kilometre Taku Glacier.

In Sitka I opt for a calming kayak paddle around the quiet nooks and crannies away from the township and the milling passengers. Add helicopter flightseeing, floatplane adventures, dog-sledding and sea kayaking and you have some idea of the scope of activity laid out for us when choosing what to do when you go ashore.

Cruise passengers throng the streets of Juneau (R Eime)

Getting out of the ports and onto an excursion is my idea of experiencing any destination. When the ship is alongside here during the busy summer cruise season, around 2000 people from each ship, plus crew, are wandering the streets and retail strip. There’s quite a hustle and bustle along the frontier-style shopping strip with everything from craft beer, faux fur coats and hats, gemstones and jewellry being hawked in a style not unlike the enterprising merchants who “mined the miners” in the goldrush days, selling them everything from eggs at a dollar apiece to gold-sniffing gophers.

Holland America Line (HAL) now operates an unequalled seven ships in Alaska. The 49th state is a firm favourite and once you’ve been aboard with HAL, it’s easy to see why so many diehard HAL fans keep coming back. An envied reputation for dining, whether in the main dining or a specialty restaurant, quality entertainment and shows as well as cabins, suites and staterooms that other cruise lines are always trying to match, keeps HAL at the forefront.

HAL is now a familiar sight in Australia and New Zealand ports too, with ships sailing all around our coastal waters and throughout the South Pacific. The Vista-class Ms Noordam (1924 pax) and Statendam-class ms Maasdam (1258 pax) are regular visitors, bringing HAL’s famous quality reputation right to our doorstep with most voyages either departing or arriving in Sydney, Melbourne or Auckland.

Apart from that, there’s very little of the world left that is not visited by a HAL ship. You can find comprehensive itineraries throughout North and South America, the Caribbean, Europe and all of the Pacific including Asia and Japan.

Eurodam carries a maximum of 2104 guests, about half that of the biggest ships currently being launched. She recently received many updates, including new lounge, dining and entertainment venues, and completely refreshed suites.

Speciality dining venues such as Pinnacle Grill, Canaletto and Tamarind offer tantalising alternatives to the quality main Dining Room. Plus there are many ‘food court’ style venues like Dive-In burger bar and New York Pizza as well as the wide range on offer in the Lido Market buffet.

Entertainment comes in rockin’ style at B.B. King's Blues Club or sophisticated classics on Lincoln Center Stage. The Main Stage is the venue for live, Broadway-style shows and performances.

Onboard activities include exclusive America’s Test Kitchen cooking shows and workshops, BBC Earth Experiences (which combine live music against a backdrop of mesmerizing footage from the BBC Earth television series), computer classes, extensive Greenhouse Spa and salon facilities, as well as wine, beer and whisky tastings.

Kids (or grandkids) 3-17 have their own supervised activities and dedicated ‘Club HAL’.

Cabins, suites and staterooms range from the presidential-style, 126sqm Pinnacle suite through Verandah and Ocean View to Interior, all with quality bedding, bathtubs and flat panel TVs with on-demand programming.

While reading about all these features and benefits will make you feel confident, it isn’t until you are aboard a HAL ship until you fully realise just why cruisers keep coming back and why this premium cruise line has the reputation of the best in its class.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Coming Down Under: Special offers for Dream Cruises

Dream Cruises has launched special promotional rates for Explorer Dream cruises departing from Sydney. The new “DreamSaver” promo has been released in celebration of Explorer Dream’s recent christening in Shanghai.

Guests can take advantage of savings up to 30% for cruises departing Sydney between 27 October 2019 and 23 February 2020. There are a range of 7-night itineraries to choose from, with destinations including Queensland, Tasmania and New Zealand. Prices start from just $505 per person twin share (Sydney to Auckland).

For dates, rates and itineraries, view the flyer attached or contact Dream Cruises on +61 9212 6288 or 1300 658 666.

Monday, 15 April 2019

Dream Cruises launches Explorer Dream

Dream Cruises has welcomed the third member of its fleet with the christening and inaugural homeport deployment of Explorer Dream at Shanghai Wusongkou International Cruise Terminal.

Honorable guests Mr Su Ping, Vice Magistrate of Shanghai Baoshan District Government and Mr Hui Lim, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of Genting Hong Kong were joined by management executives and over 500 guests at the ceremonial launch event. The christening ceremony featured Ms. Grace Chen, the godmother of Explorer Dream and one of the most influential fashion innovators in China. The innovative christening was activated by her magic wand of dreams and aspirations and the spirit of exploration was symbolised by a majestic unicorn that led the iconic Dream Cruises’ mermaid out of the ocean and into a new realm, where she will embark on the quest to discover new horizons across the seas. With the traditional breaking of the champagne bottle against the bow of the ship, Explorer Dream officially began her journey with Dream Cruises.

After the inaugural ceremony, Grace Chen presented a spectacular fashion show at sea aboard the ship. Eighteen models showcased her Voyage collection and walked the runway on the Palace Pool Deck, where guests enjoyed a visual feast inspired by the spirit of exploration and discovery, both of which are the brand essence of Dream Cruises.

Since its launch two years ago, Dream Cruises has garnered numerous accolades for its two cruise ships, Genting Dream which debuted in 2016 and World Dream in 2017, including Star Performer Top Ten Ratings in the Large Resort Category, Top 5 Cruise Lines in the Large/Medium sized cruise ship category by Conde Nast Traveler’s Gold List and more.

Built with German craftsmanship, Explorer Dream measures 268 metres in length and 32 metres in width. She has a total gross tonnage of 75,338 tons, 928 cabins and lower berth capacity of 1,856 passengers. The signature, luxury “ship within a ship” enclave of Dream Cruises - The Palace, provides a next-level luxury experience for discerning travellers, boasting an industry leading staff to guest ratio, a majority of suites over 40 square metres, as well as bespoke 24-hour butler service and exclusive guest privileges.

A generous variety of culinary options will also be available to cater for every taste – from inspired Asian flavours to exquisite Western delicacies. Acclaimed Australian Chef Mark Best will extend his influence on to Explorer Dream with his Seafood Grill by Mark Best serving up the ocean’s bounty in a spectacular al fresco setting. Signature Dream dining favourites will also take pride of place on the new ship including Umi Uma for Japanese delights, Silk Road for traditional Chinese fare, Blue Lagoon for Southeast Asian comfort food and Palm Court for informal refreshments and breath-taking views. For adventurous foodies, the all new Mozzarella Ristorante e Pizzeria will tantalise with a modern fusion of classic Italian dishes and pizzas with a Japanese twist.

Guests of Explorer Dream can also enjoy thematic programs on their journeys at sea including “The Connoisseurs Circle” bespoke enrichment program, featuring inspirational talks and events that are especially curated for guests of The Palace, such as a fashion talk by Grace Chen, the godmother of Explorer Dream.

Explorer Dream will initially homeport in Shanghai and Tianjin, where she will embark on a series of itineraries to popular destinations throughout Japan, including Kyoto, Osaka, Kobe, Nagasaki, Fukuoka and Okinawa.

From October 2019, Explorer Dream will homeport in Sydney and Auckland, offering guests a variety of seven-night weekly itineraries visiting the region’s coastal highlights.

For further information please contact Dream Cruises on +61 2 9212 6288 or visit

Saturday, 23 March 2019

MSC Magnifica maiden call

Following her maiden call in Auckland, New Zealand on her 118-night World Cruise from Genoa, Italy, MSC Magnifica reached Sydney on 18 March receiving a warm welcome. This visit from MSC Cruises, the Swiss-based world's largest privately-owned cruise line and market leader in Europe, The Gulf, South America and South Africa, marks the second time MSC Cruises has brought one of its cruise ships to Australia, with MSC Orchestra having visited in 2015

In honour of the maiden call to this stunning harbour, MSC Cruises organised events throughout the day to welcome guests. MSC Cruises invited key media and travel agents to allow them to familiarise themselves with the unique MSC Cruises experience.

Alessandro Guerreri, Managing Director of MSC Cruises Australia and New Zealand, said: "We are honoured to welcome MSC Magnifica to Australia. At MSC Cruises we are committed to continuously enrich itineraries for our guests, allowing them to discover new destinations and cultures in a unique way."

After an overnight in Sydney, MSC Magnifica made her maiden call in Melbourne on 21 March and will reach Fremantle on 25 March.

Guests onboard were treated to a signature menu from multi-award-winning chef, Serge Dansereau of Sydney's highly-acclaimed restaurant: The Bathers' Pavilion, on 20 March. Guests had the choice of starter; Yellowfin tuna tartare with ponzu sauce, avocado, rice paper and sesame or Fregola with peas, capsicum, coriander pesto, lemon and parmesan. For main; Lamb ,loin with slow-cooked lamb shoulder cumin carrots and tomato, smoked couscous, date puree and lemon or Potato gratin with miso butter, sautéed mushrooms, shallot puree, pine nut crumble and for dessert guests were treated to Chocolate gateau with chai chocolate mousse, lemon curd, hazelnut crumble and chocolate ice cream.

Friday, 8 March 2019

MSC Bellissima launched

MSC Bellissima brings to the sea the latest advances in maritime design, state-of-the-art environmental features and cutting-edge customer-centric technology

Second key construction milestone marked with MSC Virtuosa's Coin Ceremony

 MSC Cruises, the world's largest privately-owned cruise company, has taken delivery of MSC Bellissima from Chantiers de l'Atlantique, a world leader in cruise ship construction. With three Meraviglia generation ships under simultaneous construction at the shipyard in Saint-Nazaire, the two parties marked a double celebration today, with MSC Virtuosa's Coin Ceremony.

MSC Bellissima's Delivery Ceremony took place in the presence of Gianluigi Aponte, MSC Group's Founder and Executive Chairman. Also present were Pierfrancesco Vago, Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises, Laurent Castaing, General Manager, Chantiers de l'Atlantique, as well as other regional and local authorities and dignitaries.

Pierfrancesco Vago, MSC Cruises' Executive Chairman, said: "Today's delivery marks another chapter in the story of our partnership with Chantiers de l'Atlantique. Together we have already brought to life 14 highly-innovative cruise ships, paving the way for our Company's initial growth. Many more will be built together over the coming years to further deepen the reach of our fleet. Furthermore, MSC Bellissima's elegance and beauty, as well as focus on the best and latest maritime and environmental technology at sea, bear testament to our restless pursuit for innovation."

Laurent Castaing, Chantiers de l'Atlantique's General Manager, said: "This new outstanding ship is another evidence of the quality of the long-term partnership we have established between MSC Cruises and Chantiers de l'Atlantique during these last twenty years. We bring each time all our expertise and innovation capability to deserve the confidence of our customers: this is a real success story for our two companies."

As other ships in MSC Cruises' fleet, MSC Bellissima pushes the boundaries of ship building and design. Bearing testament to the Company's commitment to protect the environment, she has been equipped with some of the latest environmental technologies available. These include, amongst others, a cutting-edge exhaust gas cleaning system, an advanced wastewater treatment plant, systems for the prevention of oil discharge from machinery spaces, a ballast water treatment system, and various energy-saving improvements – from heat recovery systems to LED lighting.

MSC Bellissima is also equipped with cutting-edge guest technology. She is the first MSC Cruises ship to feature ZOE, the world's first virtual personal cruise assistant, which has been added to MSC for Me. The voice-enabled virtual personal assistant will be found in every cabin and can answer hundreds of questions about the cruise.

With the delivery, MSC Bellissima has become the fourth ship to join MSC Cruises' fleet in less than two years. As part of MSC Cruises' unprecedented new builds programme, another 13 next-generation cruise ships are due to join its fleet by 2027. These include four World Class mega cruise ships capable of welcoming nearly 7,000 guests as well as four smaller ships that will serve the ultra-luxury segment.

MSC Bellissima is the second Meraviglia Class ship to join MSC Cruises' fleet. As MSC Meraviglia, she is the ship for all seasons, with plenty of outdoor and indoor public spaces. With a length of just 315 metres, she has been designed to be able to access most of the world's cruise ports.

This evening MSC Bellissima will set sail towards Southampton, UK, where her Naming Ceremony is due to be held on 2 March. On 4 March she will depart on her maiden voyage, which will take her to Genoa, Italy, where she will spend her inaugural season, offering Western Mediterranean cruises. In November 2019, she will reposition to the Gulf, providing weekly sailings out of Dubai. In spring 2020 she will be deployed to Asia.

Earlier in the day, MSC Cruises and Chantiers de l'Atlantique held MSC Virtuosa's Coin Ceremony, which takes place at the early stages of construction of a newbuild, when the keel is laid. Due to be delivered in November 2020, she will become the fourth Meraviglia Class ship in MSC Cruises' fleet and the second of three Meraviglia-Plus ships, a larger and enriched version of the Meraviglia prototype with an increased number of cabins, more public space and additional features. Tradition dictates that two long-standing employees from the shipyard and the ship owner act as godmothers, placing two coins under the new ship's keel block as a sign of blessing and good fortune. Today Elise Guérin, Project Manager, Chantiers de l'Atlantique and Helen Huang, President, Greater China, MSC Cruises had the honour of performing this traditional task.

For more information visit or

Delivery date                                27 February 2019
Gross tonnage                               171,598 GT
Lower berth capacity                    4,434
Max. passenger capacity               5,686
Crew members                               1,536
Number of cabins                           2,217
Length / Beam / Height                  315.3 m / 43 m / 65 m
Maximum speed                             22.7 knots

Thursday, 7 March 2019

First look at new Seabourn expedition vessels [video]

Is this new Damen design for Seabourn? (Damen) 

Seabourn has released new details on what guests can expect from its two new luxury expedition ships. The cruise line signed a letter of intent with shipbuilders T. Mariotti and Damen in July, marking the brand’s first entry into the expedition cruise market.

The ships will represent a brand-new design, with the first slated for delivery in June 2021 and the second in May 2022. The first ship is currently planned to sail in the Arctic in late summer 2021, with a full summer season in Antarctica to follow.

Each will be designed with a high level of autonomy and a global deployment capability, which Seabourn says will allow them to go farther north and south than any ship in parent company Carnival Corporation’s history, visiting both warm and cool weather destinations. As previously reported, each will be built to PC6 Polar Class standards, allowing them to operate in both summer and autumn in medium first-year ice in Antarctica and the Arctic. The ships will be propelled by Azipods complemented by three bow thrusters, allowing for greater manoeuvrability.

Other newly released design details include shell doors at the ship’s waterline, which will allow guests to move easily on and off the ship via its onboard complement of Zodiacs. Additionally, dynamic positioning systems will provide the ship increased operational flexibility when it comes to maintaining its position.

For guests, the new ships will have approximately 29,600 square feet of open deck space, complemented by high-quality optics mounted in various areas on the decks when conditions permit, to maximize opportunities to view wildlife and dramatic scenery. Also notable: the ships will carry two onboard submarines for underwater exploration, as well as a complement of kayaks and 24 Zodiacs. Shore experiences will build on the brand’s existing Antarctica and Ventures by Seabourn programs, the cruise line said.

In terms of accommodations, each ship will have 132 oceanfront veranda suites, allowing for a capacity of up to 264 guests.

The onboard crew will include a 26-person expedition team, who will regularly interact with guests. These experts are also part of the Seabourn Conversations program, providing insights into the history, ecology and culture of the places the ships will visit. The expedition team will be available to guests in both formal presentations and casual conversations.

Seabourn said it will continue to announce design and itinerary details for the new ships over the next few months. Expect more on planned itineraries and booking availability this spring.