(12:10 p.m. AEST) -- Princess Cruises will join the cavalcade of lines deploying brand new ships into Australian waters next year after announcing today it will base Majestic Princess in Sydney for the 2018/19 cruising season.
Emerging from its Italian shipyard this month, the 3,560-passenger ship will become the largest and newest member of the Princess fleet -- and the first Royal Class ship -- to not just visit Australia but to spend an entire summer operating local itineraries.
Majestic Princess will soon relocate from Europe to Shanghai, where it will spend its first full year.
Arriving in Sydney on 15 September 2018, Majestic will cruise locally until March 2019.
Bookending the season will be the two repositioning voyages between Shanghai and Sydney, also available as Hong Kong to Sydney and return.
Once in Sydney, Majestic will run 16 separate round-trip itineraries, sailing a mixture of cruises to the South Pacific, New Zealand and Tasmania. Fares start from $1,499 per person twin share for a six-night voyage to Tasmania.
More than 80 per cent of Majestic Princess' cabins feature a balcony. Passengers will have 13 dining venues at their daily disposal, including 'Harmony' and 'La Mer' - two venues headed by Michelin-starred chefs Richard Chen and Emmanuel Renaut.
Princess' design specific SeaWalk will also debut in Australia onboard Majestic Princess, allowing guests to walk above the ocean on a glass bottomed platform. The ship also features the Princess Live! onboard TV studio.
Four Princess ships make up the line's 2018/19 Australian season, with long-serving stalwarts Sea Princess and Sun Princess continuing to sail locally. Joining Majestic among the seasonal visitors will be Golden Princess, based once again in Melbourne.
Together, the four ships will sail nearly 100 individual itineraries over seven months, from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide, Fremantle and Auckland.
New destinations for the line in 2018/19 include Queensland's Moreton Island and the Conflict Islands in Papua New Guinea - until now the exclusive domain of stablemate P&O Cruises.
Celebrating ten years of home porting ships in Australia next year, Princess Cruises VP Australia and New Zealand, Stuart Allison, said the arrival of Majestic Princess was testament to the popularity of the line among Australian travellers.
Majestic Princess' Australian itineraries, along with the line's entire 2018/19 season will go on sale to the public on 27 April 2017.
--By Matt Lennon, Cruise Critic contributor