1The 2015-16 summer cruise season will be the biggest on record for Australia, with the added bonus of some great bargains for Australian cruisers.

P&O is headlining a stellar season with five ships converging on Sydney Harbour in November. The line’s newly expanded fleet – which includes the new Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden – will create a spectacular sight when all five ships sail into the harbour on 25 November, bringing with it 15,000 interstate and local passengers and crew.

The cruise line said its 2015-16 program will feature 250 cruises from eight different homeports across the five-ship fleet, which also includes Pacific Dawn, Jewel and Pearl. Four of theships will return to Sydney Harbour to celebrate Australia Day in January. In total, the ships will make a record 96 sailings from Sydney in 2016.

Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Australia is counting down to its biggest season yet, which will see the cruise line’s local capacity increase by almost 50 per cent. This year will see all three brands based in local waters for the very first time, with six ships offering diverse itineraries from local ports.

Royal Caribbean International will homeport its mega-liner, Explorer of the Seas, in Sydney from November this year, and will base Legend of the Seas in Brisbane for the summer. RCI’s two other liners Voyager of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas, will also call Sydney home during the season. Together, the four ships will offer more than 70 itineraries in Australia, South Pacific and New Zealand.

Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Solstice will also be in town; while Azamara Club Cruises, will base its first ship ever in Australia, with Azamara Quest offering five voyages in the region between December 2015 and February next year.

Carnival Australia is also looking forward to a big year, with 17 ships cruising in local waters in addition to the five P&O vessels. In November, Carnival Spirit, Pacific Dawn and Pacific Jewel will sail from Sydney to Melbourne for the Melbourne Cup, with Pacific Dawn joining them from Brisbane.

Princess Cruises will welcome a fifth ship to its Australian-based fleet in October 2015 when the Golden Princess debuts Down Under. The ship will be deployed in Melbourne for her maiden Australian season from October 2015 to March 2016, claiming the mantle of the largest cruise ship ever to be based in the Victorian capital. Sun Princess will sail from Brisbane through to November 2015 before relocating to Fremantle; while Sea Princess will offer cruises from Brisbane from November 2015 to April 2016 and Diamond Princess and Dawn Princess will cruise from Sydney over the summer months.

Australia is already the fourth-largest region in the world for cruise ship deployment and it looks like this season is
a sign of even bigger things to come.

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