Mediterranean Cruises

NEWS UPDATE: New Sphere Class for Princess, Disney Wonder to Aus, RAT Proof Changes and much more!

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This morning, Princess announced its brand new Sphere Class. At just over 175k GRT, the ship will be the largest ever in the Princess fleet, dwarfing the 145k GRT Discovery Princess which only entreated service with the line earlier this year. With a passenger capacity of over 4300, the ship will launch with new features including a 9 storey central sphere that incorporates the 3 level Princess Piazza. There will also be a geodesic dome located forward containing an indoor and outdoor pool, that at night will become an entertainment venue complete with aerial performances. There are 29 dining venues, 5 pools and 14 hot tubs onboard, plus a variety of staterooms including a brand new Cabana Mini Suite. There will also be additional premium experiences for guests booked into what Princess are calling Reserve and Signature Collection staterooms. And the name of this ship, Sun Princess. This will mark the third time the name has been emblazoned on a Princess ship. She will debut in the Mediterranean in 2024, with cruises already on sale for Elite members of Princess Captain’s Circle. Bookings open to the general public from tomorrow.

The news that we all suspected was coming finally broke this week – that being the announcement that Disney Cruise Line will enter the Australian cruise market from October 2023. Disney immediately got to work advertising the Magic at Sea experience that its Aussie and Kiwi clientele will soon enjoy, highlighting the ship’s unique family friendly accommodations, rich character experiences for kids of all ages and even its focus on adult only spaces.

The 2400 passenger, 1999 built Disney Wonder will set off on a transpacific voyage from Vancouver to Hawaii and onto Sydney in October 2023. Once she arrives down under, the 83K GRT ship will exclusively offer a range of short cruises, varying in length from 2-6 nights. During her time here, she will set sail from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne and Auckland, giving as many locals as possible a chance to sample the Disney cruise experience. Pre-registrations opened earlier in the week, and based on the response so far, I have no doubt the season will be a resounding success. Bookings officially open at the end of the month, for the general public on September 29th to be exact. At the moment, there’s actually no specific pricing available, but instead indicative pricing for a 2 night cruise in USD, has been supplied. It’s been confirmed that all bookings will be processed in AUD and according to the cruise line, further pricing information will be released sometime next week. The ship will reposition back to North America in February 2024.

Last Friday, Pacific Adventure sailed into Sydney Harbour for the first time. After only several hours spent berthed at the Overseas Passenger Terminal, she pulled in her lines and set course for White Bay. To my knowledge, at almost 110K GRT and 290m in length, she’s the largest ship to ever sail under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. She will remain at White Bay while she’s readied for commercial service, with a few movements planned between now and her first guest cruise on October 22nd.

Coral Princess became the first cruise ship to dock in the city of Melbourne in over 2 and a half years yesterday. The ship arrived with a banner stretched across its forward superstructure reading “we love Melbourne”. The ship is currently sailing a 9 day southern Australia explorer cruise and returns to Sydney on September 22nd. The Grand Princess will call Melbourne home from November this year.

Carnival Corporation this week announced changes to its requirement for supplying proof of a negative covid test result. This applies to all of the company’s brands sailing from Australia including P&O, Princess and Carnival among others. According to communications sent to trade partners, you’ll need to snap a photo of your rapid antigen test result, but in the picture you must also include photo ID, as well as a clock or another device showing the current time. That photo will need to be shown at check in, either from the screen of your phone or from a print out.

Finally this week, P&O announced that they will take a leading role in the return of cruising to Vanuatu. Two P&O cruises from Australia will sail to the island nation this November, with the arrivals used to test protocols and procedures.

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