THERE is no dispute, Sydney is the most popular Australian port for international cruise ships, and this summer – the season runs from October to April in the southern hemisphere – will be the biggest ever.
No wonder Sydney is the winner as the port is considered one of the world’s most photogenic with its “coat-hangar” Harbour bridge, and iconic “sail styled” Opera House.
australiancruisingnews.com notes that some cruise ships heading Down Under are planning extended stays.
Holland America Line, a long time favourite with Australians cruising in Alaskan waters, has ms Noordam making her maiden voyage to Sydney on October 25 this year, and will home port in the New South Wales capital until April, next year.
While Down Under, Noordam sails a diverse range of 12 to 29-day Australian, New Zealand and South Pacific itineraries. A highlight is the Christmas cruise that takes in New Zealand’s stunning coastline, dramatic fjords and the scenic sounds. On board festive meals and entertainment add to perfect Christmas cheer, hollandamerica.com
Also making her maiden call to Australasia, and dallying a while, is the boutique-style Azamara Club Cruises’ Azamara Quest, which carries 686-passengers. She sails into Darwin in Australia’s Northern Territory on December 28 this year for cruises to Australian and New Zealand ports that will keep her Down Under until late February.
Big on guest immersion in local culture and wildlife, Azamara will be giving guests a taste of her free “AzAmazing” evenings by transporting them to special celebrations on shore.
For example, in Cairns, in Northern Queensland, guests will be introduced to Australia’s Aboriginal Dreamtime with authentic music and chanting, including a corroboree depicting the thrill of the hunt and the ancient totems of the rainforest people.
Azamara’s CEO, Larry Pimentel, says, “We love Australia – even before our ships have sailed in local waters- as Australians already make up one of the top three nationalities that cruise with us.” azamaraclubcruises.com