Legend of the Seas

(12:35 p.m. AEST) -- Legend of the Seas is leaving Brisbane for good, but Ovation, Voyager, Explorer and Radiance of the Seas are coming back. That’s the plan for Royal Caribbean’s 2017/18 Australian summer season, which opens for sale on Thursday.

From September 2017 through to April 2018, the four remaining megaliners will call at 46 ports across Australia, New Zealand, the South Pacific, Asia and North America with departures from Sydney, Fremantle, Auckland, Singapore, Honolulu and Seattle.

As Adam Armstrong, managing director, Royal Caribbean Australasia, said: “It’s not all about Ovation of the Seas”.

Royal Caribbean International has bigger ships and more capacity than any other cruise line based in Sydney, and it's starting to offer overnight stays at local ports too.

Explorer of the Seas will include two new overnight calls in Fiji as part of its South Pacific repositioning voyages, while both Ovation of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas will overnight in Adelaide. Radiance will also offer two one-way (“open jaw”) cruises between Sydney and Auckland, and Explorer of the Seas will make a maiden call to Wollongong (Port Kembla) as part of its Tasmania cruise in March 2018.

Discussing the farewell of Legend of the Seas, which moves to Europe from May 2017 after home-porting in Brisbane for two seasons, Armstrong said it was one of the only ships in the Royal Caribbean fleet that can berth at Portside in Brisbane until a new terminal is constructed on the eastern side of the Gateway Bridges.

“Legend of the Seas will sail from Brisbane for one final season in the summer of 2016/17 but we will continue to bring holidaymakers into Brisbane, Cairns and other Queensland ports on a regular basis on our other ships, including Ovation of the Seas,” said Armstrong.

Royal Caribbean welcomes the Port of Brisbane’s proposal to develop a new, modern cruise terminal at the mouth of the Brisbane River, which will enable larger Voyager and Quantum Class vessels to be based in Brisbane and position the sunshine state at the forefront of the growing cruise industry.

“We fully expect to return to home-porting in Queensland in the future,” Armstrong added.

Royal Caribbean also recently announced the upcoming maiden season for the ground-breaking Ovation of the Seas will be extended by a month with the addition of four new cruises. As this has meant a postponement for one of the original sailings, the company is contacting all passengers on this cruise so they have first choice to re-book their holidays and will then release itinerary details for the new departures to the general public.

Ovation of the Seas will offer nine sailings during its second local season with departures from November 2017 through to February 2018, including a 14-night repositioning voyage from Singapore to Sydney departing 23 November 2017 and calling at Fremantle, Adelaide and Hobart; a 10-night New Zealand sailing with scenic cruising to the Milford Sounds region, as well as calls to Dunedin, Wellington, Napier and Picton; a 12-night Christmas cruise to New Zealand departing 17 December 2017 and a 12-night New Year’s cruise to New Zealand that departs on 29 December 2017, calling in the North and South Islands; a nine night New Zealand school holidays sailing departing on 10 January 2018; an eight-night South Pacific cruise to Mystery Island and Noumea departing 19 January 2018 (subject to port approval); an eight-night Tasmania voyage departing 27 January 2018 that includes a call to Hobart and an overnight stay in Adelaide; and an extended 14-night New Zealand cruise departing 4 February 2018 to the Bay of Islands, Auckland, Tauranga, Wellington, Picton, Dunedin and scenic cruising in the Milford Sounds region.

Returning for its third season, Explorer of the Seas will specialise in South Pacific cruises ranging from three to 23 nights, kicking off with a 22-night repositioning cruise from Seattle to Sydney via Honolulu, Lahaina, Suva (overnight), Mystery Island, Lifou and Mare departing 6 October 2017.

For its sixth consecutive season down under, Voyager of the Seas will also sail predominantly in the South Pacific, with a 10-night repositioning cruise from Singapore to Fremantle departing on 18 October 2017 and calling at Kuala Lumpur, Langkawi and Phuket. Voyager will also do a 16-night Round Australia and New Zealand voyage from Fremantle to Sydney departing 28 October 2017.

Radiance of the Seas will offer departures from Sydney, Auckland and Fremantle with itineraries ranging to New Zealand, Queensland, Tasmania and around Australia, including an 18-night transpacific cruise from Honolulu to Sydney departing 19 September 2017, and a 33-night circumnavigation of Australia.

--By Louise Goldsbury, Australia Editor