Celebrity Cruises has announced the deployment of a second ship for the 2014-2015 summer season Down Under when Celebrity Century joins Celebrity Solstice and returns to Australia.
The 1,800-passenger vessel was last based Down Under for the 2011-2012 cruise season and, together with her sister, will offer 27 voyages from three- to 23-nights – a 50 percent increase on the slated 2013-2014 season.
They will visit the new ports of Burnie, Port Lincoln and Cairns, with Celebrity Century commencing her season with the first-ever 23-night transpacific voyage for the line from San Francisco to Sydney via Hawaii and Tahiti.
“Having a second ship here allows us to offer Australian an even wider range of itineraries and ports: more South Pacific cruises, some shorter cruises and more unique itineraries to South Australia,” Royal Caribbean Cruises Limited regional vice president Gavin Smith said.
“The two ships are different sizes too – so they will appeal to different guests.”
Speaking to media aboard Celebrity Solstice in Sydney yesterday, Mr Smith also shared the uncertainty that cruise lines face with the ongoing Sydney berthing issue.
“We, as an industry, have not been advised as to what improvements will be made to the Overseas Passenger Terminal (OPT) yet.
“We start paying a $20 per head guest tax from the 1st of July for the privilege of using the terminal. We’re very excited to hear from the Ports Minister or the Transport Minister about what aspect of that $20 per guest, which is going to raise somewhere around $10 milion in year one, is going to be invested back in OPT.”
With only one berth east of the Harbour Bridge to accommodate ships to large to sail under the structure, Mr Smith shared his concern that, whilst cruising is booming into and out of Sydney, the Government will never be aware of the ships that will never be deployed as a result of the berthing issue.
“They’re the ones that would have come if there were more facilities.
“With Celebrity Century for example, we have a sub-optimal deployment because we are confined to the spots at Circular Quay. We make it work and we merchandise it in such a way but it’s sub-optimal in the end and, at some point, that second berth is critical.
Celebrity Century’s three-month Australia/New Zealand season will offer 11 seven- to 23-night voyages including the line’s first-ever cruise to combine ports in Tropical Queensland with the South Pacific islands.
Other highlights of her season include: an eight-night South Australian voyage taking in Melbourne, Adelaide and Port Lincoln; four 12-night South Pacific cruises calling into Vanuatu, New Caledonia and Fiji; and a seven-night Tasmania cruise visiting Melbourne, Burnie and Hobart.
Celebrity Century’s next Aussie deployment will lead into her new Southeast Asia program out of Singapore from January to April 2015.