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NEWS UPDATE: Costa Cruise Ship for Brisbane, Royal Cancellations, Coral Princess Sailing and more!

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Coral Princess has officially joined Pacific Explorer in being the only ships currently serving the Australian cruise market. Coral departed for her first guest cruise on June 16th with a boatload of excited travellers eager to experience Princess Medallion technology and a brand new Princess ship for the Australian market. The ship will home port in Brisbane for the next few months, and will soon be joined by sister ships Majestic Princess and Grand Princess.

The countdown is well and truly on for Australia’s cruise revival, with P&O’s Pacific Encounter due to set sail from Brisbane in August and the Pacific Adventure from Sydney in October. Though there hasn’t been any new information about the Encounter or Adventure released for some time, I have it on good authority that P&O Corporate Entertainment Director, Zoltina-J will be, if she’s not already, onboard Pacific Encounter to help the Entertainment Team perfect the guest experience before the ship heads down under in the coming months.

By spring and summer, we expect the harbours around Australia to once again be full of cruise ships from lines like Celebrity, Holland America, NCL, Cunard, Royal Caribbean and more.

And speaking of more, we learned this week that Costa Cruises will be transferring their ship, Luminosa, to Carnival Cruises. Costa Luminosa is effectively a sister ship to the Carnival Spirit. She first sailed for the Italian line in 2009 and is just over 90k gross tonnes with a passenger capacity of around 2500. As I reported some time ago now, Carnival had pulled the Spirit from Australian service and moved her to the US and in doing so, announced that Brisbane would be receiving a new ship. Though we didn’t ever know with confidence what that ship would be, it now seems incredibly apparent that it should have been the Costa Magica. The Magica was due to be transferred to the Carnival fleet, but instead the ship will remain with Costa and in its place, Luminosa is coming.

Carnival Luminosa will only be based in Brisbane seasonally, meaning that during our autumn and winter she will sail to the northern hemisphere to serve the Alaska cruise market. I truly think something has gone on behind the scenes, I don’t believe that the ultimate plan was to have a similar ship to the Spirit home port in Brisbane – otherwise, why pull Spirit in the first place. Further, Carnival have made it clear that Luminosa will only undergo limited modifications – she won’t receive Carnival’s popular fun ship 2.0 upgrades before she begins serving Brisbane in November this year. Her forward bookings as Costa Luminosa from September onwards have been cancelled which indicates she will have only a short stint in wet or dry dock before making her way down under. Carnival have announced that bookings will open soon.

South Australia and Tasmania have finally accepted that cruising is back, with both states agreeing to welcome back ships in time for our summer cruise season. The states will be closely aligning their health protocols and requirements with those already in existence across the eastern Australian states.

Princess this week announced some modifications to its planned voyages onboard both Royal Princess and Crown Princess in 2023. The changes have impacted some Australian cruises with the cancellation of Royal’s repositioning cruise from Hong Kong to Brisbane and Sydney, as well as 3 cruises scheduled to sail from Sydney in September and October.

How big is too big? Royal Caribbean confirmed that its brand new Icon Class ships will actually exceed the size record set by current title holder, Wonder of the Seas. Originally the Icon Class was set to fit between the Quantum and Harmony classes, but it looks like Royal want to keep their record and are aiming ever bigger. There’s very limited information available about the new class of ships, but expect them to offer new, innovative features never before seen on a ship and to take full advantage of technological advancements in both onboard amenities and engine propulsion.

And finally, a special shout out to Marty and Jessica Ansen – the Aussie cruisers joined Coral Princess this week for her first sailing from Brisbane and will remain onboard for 53 consecutive cruisers. It’s safe to say they’ll be making up for the last two years.

Iantomferry at English Wikipedia, CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Federicosisinni, CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
Sonse, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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