Some of the biggest cruise ships afloat will call Australia home during the 2012-13 cruise season. More ships than ever will be based here, often circumnavigating the continent as well as sailing across the Tasman to New Zealand, offering diverse sightseeing in ports and onboard attractions to whet our ever-growing appetite for cruising local waters.
The mega cruise ships to be based in Australian waters include Voyager of the Seas, Carnival Spirit and Oosterdam.
- Voyager of the Seas *
Royal Caribbean's Voyager of the Seas, with 3840 passengers, is the biggest ship ever to be based in Australian waters, and arrives in November. There is an ice-skating rink, mini-golf course, in-line skating track, rock climbing wall, water-park, a kids club and teen disco. There are several restaurants, a large theatre for live shows, clubs and lounges, a shopping arcade, a spa and fitness centre, an art gallery and wedding chapel. Itineraries visit Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific. royalcaribbean.com.au
- Carnival Spirit *
Carnival Cruises' 2600-
passenger Carnival Spirit sails into Australian waters in October for several Pacific cruises and will be "Aussified" to make Australians feel right at home. Tipping has been abolished, cabins will have Australian power points, and coffee served on board will suit local tastes. On the menu shrimps will be known as prawns, and there will be an Aussie-style barbecue on deck. A water park has the fastest, steepest water slide at sea which fits in with Carnival's image of "fun ships of the sea". Other attractions include an adults-only retreat. Carnival Spirit will sail along the east coast of Australia and cross the Tasman Sea to New Zealand. carnival.com.au
- Oosterdam *
Holland America's Oosterdam carries 1916 passengers and will arrive in Australian waters in late October for cruises from Sydney to New Zealand and the Pacific islands. Touches of class on board include a Waterford Crystal globe-style chandelier in the ship's three-storey atrium, with marble, inlaid wood and brass features throughout public areas. Artworks, a wraparound teak promenade deck and fresh flower arrangements add to the ambience. As well as a range of dining choices, there is a Culinary Arts Centre with a demonstration kitchen offering cooking lessons. Oosterdam's sister ship Volendam sails into Fremantle on November 9, and Amsterdam arrives on February 25. hollandamerica.com.au
- OTHER CRUISERS DOCKING *
Other cruise ships in Australian waters include Princess Cruises' Sea Princess and Dawn Princess, Royal Caribbean's Radiance of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas, Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Millennium and Celebrity Solstice, P&O Australia's Pacific Pearl, Pacific Jewel and Pacific Dawn, and Classic International Cruises' Athena, arriving in Fremantle on December 18, with a Christmas cruise to Broome and Bali. Also calling into Australian ports are Cunard's Queen Mary and Queen Victoria, P&O's Aurora and Arcadia and Silversea's Silver Whisper.Veronica Matheson