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Cruise ships return Down Under!

Aussie families can book a cruise holiday Down Under for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic. Here are some great options. 

Kids in the SplashZone on the Carnival Splendor
Kids in the SplashZone on the Carnival Splendor

The Australian Government will lift the cruise ban from April 17 after the two-year suspension of operations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic – and cruise companies have been quick to announce a return to operations. Here’s the lowdown!

A family jumping in the pool on a PO ship
A family jumping in the pool on a PO ship

P&O Cruises’ Pacific Explorer, Pacific Adventure and Pacific Encounter

P&O Cruises Australia will return to cruising at the end of May, with the launch of a new 2022 program of sailings from Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne. Pacific Explorer sails from Sydney on May 31 on a four-night roundtrip cruise to Brisbane, where the ship is scheduled to make the first call at the city’s new cruise terminal on June 2. The ship will then sail from Sydney on a series of Queensland and South Pacific cruises until late October, replacing Pacific Adventure’s scheduled program. While most cruise itineraries will remain unaltered by the change of ships, a 10-night cruise to Vanuatu departing June 1 has been replaced with three shorter domestic cruises. 

Pacific Adventure will now begin her maiden season of cruises from Sydney on October 22, when Pacific Explorer will sail to Adelaide for a new mini-season of four cruises. Pacific Explorer will redeploy to Melbourne in November for three months, before returning to Adelaide in February 2023 for a longer season of nine cruises.

Meanwhile, the Brisbane debut of Pacific Encounter has been rescheduled from June 4 to August 20, 2022, prompting the cancellation of 15 cruises.

pocruises.com.au; call 13 24 94

Coral Princess
Coral Princess

Coral Princess, Grand Princess & Majestic Princess

Princess Cruises is also resuming cruising in Australia, with Coral Princess set to debut in Brisbane on June 16 for her inaugural season Down Under. The 2000-guest ship will be homeported in Brisbane for 11 new departures ranging from three to 12 nights between June and August before returning for another 10 cruises from November. Coral Princess’ sister ships, Grand Princess and Majestic Princess, will also call into Queensland ports as part of their scheduled Australian season sailing from Sydney and Melbourne. Highlights of the Princess program include short getaway cruises from Brisbane and Sydney, five seven-day Queensland roundtrip cruises from Brisbane, sailing to Cairns, Port Douglas, and Airlie Beach (for the Whitsundays), a new seven-day New South Wales Coast roundtrip from Brisbane, with a maiden call to Eden on the Sapphire Coast, Sydney, and Newcastle; a new 12-day Queensland and New South Wales voyage, sailing roundtrip from Brisbane, and a new 12-day Queensland and the Conflict Islands voyage, roundtrip Sydney or Brisbane, crossing the Coral Sea to visit the stunning and remote Conflict Islands in Papua New Guinea.

princess.com; 13 24 88

An aerial view showing the waterslides on the Carnival Splendor

Carnival Splendor 

Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Splendor will return to Australia with a new Transpacific Journeys Cruise, that will be available soon. Carnival Splendor’s first scheduled cruise out of Australia is the four-day Sydney to Moreton Island cruise on October 5, 2022. The ship has an amazing waterslide on deck 11, with the Green Lightning thrill-slide that begins with an 11.3 metre free-fall drop as the capsule floor opens, followed by a slingshot curve, twisting and sliding guests into a giant swirling bowl. It also offers activities such as mini golf, dive-in movies, arts and crafts, a Dr Seuss character parade and storytime, a Mad Hatters high tea and ocean-themed activities. 

carnival.com.au; 1300 385 625

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