Featuring the largest Australia deployment of any North American line in the region, Princess Cruises’ 2012-13 season of “Down Under” cruising offers intriguing new routes, a special solar eclipse cruise, a new cruisetour to the Outback, and more sailings to New Zealand than any other line.
In total, four ships – Diamond Princess, Sun Princess, Dawn Princess and Sea Princess – will sail on 40 voyages of eight different itineraries in the region. Among them are a longer 14-day Australia & New Zealand itinerary that adds two ports, Wellington and Picton, compared to previous seasons; as well as an extensive 33-day Round Australia & New Zealand route, featuring the best of the lands of kangaroos and kiwis.
Additionally, a special sailing will offer the unique opportunity to view the November 14 solar eclipse in its area of totality around northern Australia. This 11-day Queensland cruise aboard Dawn Princess includes a day at sea especially for the opportunity to view the solar eclipse.
Passengers who want to see more of Australia can opt for one of four complete land and sea cruisetours, that seamlessly combine a land itinerary with an Australia/New Zealand cruise. A new seven-night tour option debuts this season, featuring a train ride into the Outback from Adelaide aboard the historic Ghan Railway.
The Princess program includes three ships based locally for Aussie-style cruising. Featuring dining and entertainment options geared to Australian tastes, plus using Australian dollars as the onboard currency, these sailings offer a true local experience to passengers from all over.
“Australia and New Zealand are home to some of the world’s great cruise destinations,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises executive vice president. “Whether someone wants to explore the Great Barrier Reef, sail to scenic spots in New Zealand such as the dramatic Fiordland National Park, or even circumnavigate the entire Australian continent, we offer unforgettable vacation experiences.”
Princess’ 2012-13 Australia/New Zealand cruise season includes:
Australia & New Zealand – Expanded Itinerary – This 14-day journey between Sydney and Auckland adds two ports – Picton and Wellington – to a favorite Princess route – and all departures feature Fiordland National Park. Diamond Princess will offer six sailings between December 14, 2012 and February 22, 2013 on an itinerary to Melbourne, Hobart (Tasmania), Fiordland National Park (scenic cruising), Dunedin (Port Chalmers), Christchurch (Lyttelton), Picton (or Marlborough Sounds scenic cruising on select departures), Wellington, and Tauranga.
Aussie Experience Sailings
Locally based ships Sun Princess, Dawn Princess and Sea Princess offer “Aussie-style” cruising to Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.
Queensland (Solar Eclipse Cruise) – A special cruise itinerary especially for viewing the total solar eclipse on November 14, 2012. This roundtrip voyage from Sydney sails north to Brisbane, Willis Island (scenic cruising), Port Douglas, Airlie Beach and then heads off the coast for a day at sea for the opportunity to view the eclipse. Dawn Princess departs on November 6, 2012.
Round Australia & New Zealand – A 33-day grand tour sailing roundtrip from Sydney features both Australia and the North & South Islands of New Zealand. Sea Princess will call at Brisbane, Port Douglas (for the Great Barrier Reef & Cairns), Darwin, Lombok, Geraldton, Perth (Fremantle), Adelaide, Melbourne, Fiordland National Park (scenic cruising), Wellington, Napier, Tauranga, and Auckland. The sailing departs on October 18, 2012.
Round Australia – A chance to circle the continent in 28 days aboard Dawn Princess. The roundtrip voyages from Sydney sailing visits Brisbane, Airlie Beach (for the Whitsundays), Port Douglas (for the Great Barrier Reef & Cairns), Darwin, Lombok, Perth (Fremantle), Bunbury, Albany, Adelaide, Melbourne, Burnie (Tasmania), and Hobart (Tasmania overnight). The sailing departs on March 31, 2013.
Northern Australia Explorer – Sailing between Sydney and Perth (Fremantle), passengers can explore Airlie Beach (for the Whitsundays), Port Douglas (for the Great Barrier Reef & Cairns), Darwin, Kimberly Coast (scenic cruising), Broome, Lombok, and Geraldton. The 17-day sailings depart aboard Sun Princess and Dawn Princess on April 12, 29 and June 10, 2012; plus April 26 and May 13, 2013.
New Zealand – Three different itineraries sail from Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane aboard Dawn Princess, Sea Princess and Sun Princess. These 13- or 14-day sailings include opportunities to explore ports such as Auckland, Tauranga, Napier, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, as well as scenic cruising through Fiordland National Park. Sailings depart between October 24, 2012 and March 16, 2013.
Four guided land tours of Australia can be added to a cruise to create a full land and sea vacation, covering some of the continent’s undisputed wonders. All cruisetours include the 14-day Australia and New Zealand cruise seamlessly combined with a four- to seven-night land adventure.
Classic Australia and Ghan Rail **NEW** – This overnight rail adventure between Adelaide and Alice Springs offers a great way to explore the country’s extensive Outback and visit the inland landmark, Uluru, or Ayers Rock. The seven-night tour features two nights in Adelaide, one night aboard the historic Ghan Railway, one night in Alice Springs, a night at Ayers Rock and two nights in Sydney. This unique tour offers an opportunity to explore the South Australia capital of Adelaide as well as the chance to enjoy one of the great train journeys of the world, named after the Afghan cameleers who once traversed this route.
Australian Outback Adventure – This six-night tour visits the country’s renowned Great Barrier Reef and ventures into the vast Australian Outback with two nights in Sydney, one night at Ayers Rock, one night in Alice Springs and two nights in Cairns. In the Outback, travelers will visit the famed Uluru (Ayers Rock), and will experience Aboriginal cultural.
Ultimate Australia – This seven-night tour features the Great Barrier Reef and Ayers Rock plus visits to Darwin and the majestic Kakadu National Park. This land itinerary offers two nights in Sydney, one night at Ayers Rock, one night at Kakadu, one night in Darwin and two nights at Port Douglas for the Great Barrier Reef.
Tropical Highlights – Those who want to explore the extensive Great Barrier Reef will enjoy this four-night tour, featuring two nights in Sydney and two nights in Cairns. Travelers will spend a day at the Great Barrier Reef, plus nearby nature parks and cultural attractions.