Royal fleet calls Australia home
The launch of massive ships Allure and Oasis of the Seas in 2010 and the first “smart ship” Quantum of the Seas has allowed Royal Caribbean to send ships far and wide, and Australian passengers will see the return of old favourites and less familiar cruisers this year.
The term “old” is used loosely, for the whole fleet has been spruced up to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars.
The most recent face lift was just last month on Voyager of the Seas, which will return to Australia a much-changed ship to the one on which I cruised in April. An $80 million upgrade has added new restaurants — Izumi, Giovanni’s Table and Chops Grille — virtual balcony cabins, a 3-D movie theatre, the FlowRider surf simulator, a new club and digital signage.
The ship will cruise from Sydney until April and then again from November. Itineraries will include a 10-night South Pacific and Fiji Cruise, an 11-night cruise to New Zealand and a 16-night Australia and New Zealand cruise which will depart Sydney on March 16 and end in Fremantle on April 1.
Voyager will lose its crown as the biggest ship to be based in Australia when slightly larger sibling Explorer of the Seas arrives for a season of cruising from Sydney in November. Fremantle will be the first Australian port of call for the 3800-passenger megaship, which has 15 bars, clubs and lounges, 10 pools and spas, and an ice-skating rink. Explorer will begin with a couple of short sampler cruises before longer voyages to New Zealand and the South Pacific.
Another ship that’s new to Australia is Legend of the Seas, which will arrive in Brisbane for a five-month season in December. The 2000-passenger ship will offer sampler cruises, South Pacific voyages and itineraries along the Queensland coast.
Radiance of the Seas, known as the cuisine ship, is well-known to Australian cruisers. It will be based in Sydney and cruise to Tasmania, New Zealand, the South Pacific and on circumnavigations before departing for Alaska in April.
And this year will be the eighth and final Australian season for Rhapsody of the Seas, a smaller ship which is a favourite of cruisers who enjoy a more intimate atmosphere. From Sydney, it will cruise to Tasmania, Queensland and the South Pacific before leaving for Singapore on a 16-night cruise on April 17.
As we bid farewell to one ship, we welcome another in the shape of Azamara Quest. The 694-passenger ship will be the first of Royal Caribbean’s boutique line Azamara Club Cruises to visit our shores when it arrives this December. It will embark on voyages from Cairns and Sydney visiting Bali, the Great Barrier Reef and New Zealand. Voyages on the luxury ship include complimentary night tours and butler service wine, beer and selected spirits.
- Voyager of the Seas’ 16-night Australia and New Zealand cruise departs Sydney on March 16 and ends in Fremantle after visiting Wellington, Picton, Dunedin, Dusky, Doubtful and Milford sounds, Melbourne and Adelaide. Fares are from $1769.
- A three-night sampler cruise on Explorer of the Seas, round trip from Sydney, starts on November 29 and costs from $555.
- A 16-night voyage on Rhapsody of the Seas departing Sydney on April 17 for Singapore costs from $1735. The cruise visits Brisbane, Airlie Beach, Cairns, Darwin, Komodo and Bali. Travel agents, royalcaribbean.com.au and 1800 754 500.
- A 14-night Bali & Barrier Reef Voyage on Azamara Quest departs Bali on December 22 and visits Lombok, Komodo, Darwin, Thursday Island, Cooktown and Port Douglas, and costs from $4585.50. Travel agents, azamaraclubcruises.com and 1800 754 500.
© The West Australian
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