The much-anticipated itineraries for fans of Royal Caribbean’s megaliner fleet are now available.
Highlights of its 2017/18 Australian summer season have been announced including details on the US$1 billion Ovation of the Seas’ (see our preview here) second local season.
Bookings for the new season are now open.
“Australia’s biggest, newest and most technologically advanced cruise ship is returning to our shores for a second season,” said Adam Armstrong, managing director, Royal Caribbean Australasia. “Ovation of the Seas’ construction has just reached completion – she’s purpose built for our region – so we’re incredibly excited to be offering Aussies more opportunities to experience this revolutionary cruise ship.
“There is no other cruise line sailing in Australia which offers surfing, sky diving, bumper cars, trapeze lessons, ice skating, Broadway-style shows, cocktails tailor-made by a robot or a choice of 18 different world-class dining options including Jamie’s Italian, the enchanting Wonderland and a fantastic gastro pub, all on the one ship.”
Together, Ovation of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas will offer 66 sailings ranging from two to 23 nights during the 2017/18 season.
From September 2017 through to April 2018, the four megaliners will call at 46 ports across Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific, Asia and North America with departures from Sydney, Fremantle, Auckland, Singapore, Honolulu and Seattle.
Explorer and Voyager will cement their position as the specialised South Pacific sisters in 2017/18 sailing predominantly to destinations like Mystery Island and Port Vila in Vanuatu as well as Noumea, Isle of Pines and Lifou (Loyalty Islands) in New Caledonia.
Both newly revitalised from bow to stern at a cost of USD$180 million, the as-new twin ships are feature-packed and include an ice skating rink, flowrider, rock climbing wall and sports court.
Meanwhile, Radiance and Ovation will focus on Australia and New Zealand itineraries, sailing to ports like Hobart, Adelaide and Fremantle, as well as to the North and South Islands of New Zealand. Radiance will embark on two open-jaw cruises from Sydney and Auckland, offering itineraries for Australian travellers who want flexibility so they can add a longer land component to their holiday plans. The Aussie favourite will also include calls to Fiji and Tonga on her 14 night Sydney to Auckland cruise, departing 3 January 2017.
Royal Caribbean guests will soon start to experience more overnight calls. Explorer will make two overnight calls in Suva in Fiji on her repositioning voyages, at the commencement of the season and on her return to Seattle in 2018, allowing guests to enjoy a multi-day shore excursion or choose to stay overnight on land.
Both Ovation and Radiance overnight in Adelaide, allowing guests to spend the night in the nearby wine regions of the Barossa or Clare Valley. Radiance will overnight in Adelaide during her nine night Tasmania cruise departing on 13 December 2017 and Ovation will follow suit during her eight night Tasmania voyage departing 27 January 2018.
Explorer will continue the work of Radiance in opening up the South Coast of NSW to cruise tourism with a maiden call to Wollongong (Port Kembla) – as part of her seven night Tasmania sailing departing 12 March 2018 – making her the largest cruise ship to ever call there.
The summer of 2017/18 will also mark a fond farewell to Legend of the Seas, which Royal Caribbean is deploying to Europe from May 2017. After home-porting in Brisbane for two consecutive seasons, Legend is currently one of the only ships in the Royal Caribbean International fleet that can berth at Portside in Brisbane until a new terminal is constructed on the eastern side of the Gateway Bridge.
“Legend of the Seas will sail from Brisbane for one final season in the summer of 2016/17 but we will continue to bring holidaymakers into Brisbane, Cairns and other Queensland ports on a regular basis on our other ships, including Ovation of the Seas,” said Mr Armstrong.
Royal Caribbean says it welcomes the Port of Brisbane’s proposal to develop a new, modern cruise terminal at the mouth of the Brisbane River, which will enable larger Voyager and Quantum Class vessels to be based in Brisbane and position the sunshine state at the forefront of the growing cruise industry. “We fully expect to return to home-porting in Queensland in the future,” Mr Armstrong added.
The company also recently announced the upcoming maiden season for the much-anticipated Ovation of the Seas will be extended by one month with the addition of four new cruises. As this has meant a change of date for one of the original sailings, the company is contacting all passengers on this cruise so they have first choice to re-book their holidays and will then release itinerary details for the new sailings to the general public.
2017/18 Itinerary Overview
Ovation of the Seas will offer nine sailings during her second local season with departures from November 2017 through to February 2018, including:
- A 14 night repositioning voyage from Singapore to Sydney departing 23 November 2017 and calling at Fremantle, Adelaide and Hobart;
- A 10 night New Zealand sailing with scenic cruising to the Milford Sounds region, as well as calls to Dunedin, Wellington, Napier and Picton;
- A 12 night Christmas cruise to New Zealand departing 17 December 2017 and a 12-night New Year’s cruise to New Zealand that departs on 29 December 2017, calling in both the North and South Islands;
- A nine night New Zealand school holidays sailing departing on 10 January 2018;
- Calls to South Pacific favourites Mystery Island and Noumea during an eight night school holidays voyage departing 19 January 2018 (subject to port approval);
- An eight night Tasmania voyage departing 27 January 2018 that includes a call to Hobart and an overnight stay in Adelaide;
- An extended 14 night New Zealand cruise departing 4 February 2018 which visits the Bay of Islands, Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Picton, Dunedin and includes a scenic cruise to the Milford Sounds region.
Returning for her third season, Explorer of the Seas will specialise in South Pacific cruises ranging from three to 23 nights, including:
- An epic 22 night repositioning cruise from Seattle to Sydney via Honolulu, Lahaina, Suva (overnight), Mystery Island, Lifou and Mare departing 6 October 2017;
- Three 11 night South Pacific and Fiji sailings, including a combined Christmas and New Year cruise departing on 24 December 2017;
- A selection of seven, eight, nine, 10 and 12 night South Pacific sailings during the January school holidays;
- A three night Sampler cruise which departs 9 February 2018;
- A seven night Tasmania sailing departing 12 March 2018 which includes a maiden call to Wollongong, as well as calls to Hobart and Melbourne;
- Explorer of the Seas will depart Australia on 22 April 2018 with a 23 night Sydney to Seattle cruise visiting Noumea, Lifou, Mystery Island, Suva (overnight), Lahaina and Honolulu.
For her sixth consecutive season down under, Voyager of the Seas will join her sister megaliner Explorer in sailing predominantly South Pacific itineraries from October 2017 through to April 2018. Highlights include:
- A 10 night repositioning cruise from Singapore to Fremantle departing on 18 October 2017 and calling at Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi and Phuket;
- Voyager of the Seas will then sail a 16 night Round Australia and New Zealand voyage from Fremantle to Sydney departing 28 October 2017 that includes calls to Adelaide, Melbourne, Dunedin, Akaroa, Picton, Wellington and scenic cruising in the Milford Sounds region;
- An eight night Queensland cruise departing 13 November 2017 with calls to Brisbane, Willis Island, and the Whitsundays;
- A choice of two 14 night South Pacific and Fiji sailings including a New Year’s cruise departing 30 December 2017;
- A choice of six 10 night South Pacific sailings visiting ports in Noumea and Vanuatu including a Christmas cruise departing 20 December 2017;
- Three 9 night sailings calling at ports in Noumea and Vanuatu;
- A choice of nine, eight and seven night South Pacific itineraries and an 11 night cruise departing on 5 April, which also visits Fiji;
- A two night weekend sampler cruise departing 1 December 2017 and a three night weekend sampler cruise departing 2 February 2018;
- Voyager of the Seas will conclude her local season with a 14 night Sydney to Singapore cruise departing 16 April 2018 and visiting Brisbane, The Whitsundays, Cairns, Port Douglas and Darwin.
Radiance of the Seas will offer departures from Sydney, Auckland and Fremantle for the 2017/18 season with itineraries ranging from eight to 18 nights to New Zealand, Queensland, Tasmania and around Australia, including:
- An 18 night transpacific cruise from Honolulu to Sydney departing 19 September 2017 which calls at French Polynesia and New Zealand;
- A circumnavigation of Australia, where guests can choose to sail a 16-night ‘Top End’ cruise from Sydney to Fremantle which calls at Brisbane, Cairns, Darwin, Bali, Port Hedland and Geraldton or a 17 night south coast and New Zealand sailing that calls at Esperance, Adelaide, Melbourne, Dunedin, Akaroa, Picton, Wellington, as well as scenic cruising to the Sounds, or choose to combine the two cruises into one majestic 33-night voyage;
- A nine night Tasmania cruise departing on 13 December 2017 that calls at Hobart and Melbourne and includes an overnight stay in Adelaide;
- Visit Queensland during an eight night sailing departing on 29 March 2018 that calls at Newcastle, The Whitsundays and Brisbane;
- Radiance of the Seas will also offer a 14 night Sydney to Auckland cruise calling in New Caledonia, Fiji and Tonga, departing 3 January 2017. This cruise can be combined with the following 14 night New Zealand sailing from Auckland to Sydney to create a 24-night South Pacific and New Zealand cruise;
- Celebrate Christmas and New Year on a 12 night New Zealand cruise departing 22 December 2017;
- Choose from a selection of 11 night, 13 night or 14 night cruises to New Zealand which visit the North and South Islands and the majestic Milford Sounds region;
- Radiance of the Seas departs the region on 17 April 2018 with a 17 night Sydney to Honolulu repositioning sailing visiting Picton, Wellington, Papeete and Bora Bora.