(4:30 p.m. EDT) -- Is the earth tilting? Australia has just landed another massive cruise ship. This time, it's Royal Caribbean's 137,308-ton, 3,114-passenger Voyager of the Seas, which will cruise out of Sydney and Fremantle starting fall 2012.
Voyager, which will become the largest cruise ship ever to homeport in Australia, will join smaller fleetmates Rhapsody of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas in the region, and sail a five-month series of 1- to 18-night cruises to New Zealand, South Pacific and Australia. Additional details on the itineraries will be announced in the coming weeks. The Down Under deployment will follow Voyager's first-ever season sailing out of Shanghai, China (summer 2012).
As is typical with such regional deployments, Royal Caribbean will tweak Voyager's onboard offerings to cater to Australians. RCI spokesman Harrison Liu was loathe to offer specifics, but he told Cruise Critic that "customizations [may] include locally sourced beverage choices, regionally inspired dishes, and onboard programming and activities based on the culture of the regions."
Voyager's deployment is just the latest is a steady stream of announcements that have had Aussie cruisers' smiles reaching Fosters-Oil-Can-like proportions.
In March we reported that the much-heralded 122,000-ton, 2,850-passengers Celebrity Solstice and Holland America's contemporary and recently overhauled Oosterdam will be based Down Under, occupying a cruise region that's traditionally been a dumping ground for older, smaller vessels.
In January, Carnival Cruise Lines revealed that it will base its 88,500-ton, 2,124-passenger Carnival Spirit based year-round in Australia starting October 2012. It'll be Carnival's first foray into the region.
--by Dan Askin, News Editor