THIS summer sees Australian ports experiencing their busiest season ever as international cruise ships sail into coastal waters at a rapid rate of knots.
Big white liners have become a familiar sight in Australian waters as the continent is now seen as a major cruising hotspot.
Circumnavigation cruises are a big favourite with passengers who want time to relax during days at sea while sailing between Australia’s major cities and tourist attractions.
Many ships will be sailing into Australian ports after a season in Asian waters – another cruising hotspot – or on a repositioning voyage after a season in the always popular Alaskan waters of the northern hemisphere.
Three Queens (Cunard Line’s Mary 2, Elizabeth and Victoria) and a number of Princesses will be among the growing flotilla, with early arrivals sailing via Fremantle (Perth’s port on the West Coast of Australia) and Darwin (in Australia’s north) to Sydney on the East Coast which remains the hero port for international cruise passengers, www.cunardline.com.au; www.princess.com
Few ports around the world compare with Sydney and its celebrated Opera House and Harbour Bridge. austaliancruisingnews.com was on deck on a cruise ship sailing into that glorious harbour as dawn broke when a well-travelled American exclaimed, “This sight alone is worth the cost of the entire cruise ticket. It is breathtaking.”
It was a heartfelt endorsement as days earlier our ship Radiance of the Seas was in Tahitian waters and anchored near the lushly peaked tropical island of Bora Bora in French Polynesia. That picturesque island is rated as one of those sights every traveller must see before they die, www.royalcaribbean.com.au