(4:40 p.m. EDT) -- Australia is preparing for a “holiday booking frenzy” this Sunday when the Plan a Cruise Month promotion starts on 1 October. In its second year, the month-long global event is the largest cruise sale in the world, with local and international cruise lines offering discounts, upgrades and onboard credit.

October also marks the start of the cruise season down under with the first international ships arriving for the summer. The 2017-18 season Australia will see around 60 ships sailing in local waters.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) offices work closely with CLIA-accredited travel agents and cruise lines to promote cruises to Australians, culminating in this special sales event.

Joel Katz, CLIA Australasia & Asia Managing Director, told Cruise Critic: “Today there are cruises to take you around the world, from rivers in Asia and Africa to ocean cruises to the Galápagos Islands. A cruise can take you to some of the best global destinations aboard some of the most advanced cruise ships. 

“This year, Plan a Cruise Month is shining a spotlight on the different styles of ship, from ocean to river, to expedition and luxury. Each week in October, through social media, online content and expert advice from travel agents, travellers can learn more about all the cruise options around the world and take advantage of cruise line deals and promotions. We encourage travellers to find a CLIA-accredited travel agent at”

Examples of Plan a Cruise Month deals include savings of up to $2100 per cabin on select Princess Cruises voyages across Europe, Alaska, Asia, Japan, the Americas, Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific; 50 percent off for the second passenger on select MSC Cruises departures in the Mediterranean, Arabian Peninsula, Northern Europe, the Caribbean and repositioning cruises; up to US$1000 per cabin slashed off select Crystal Cruises’ river, ocean and yacht itineraries in 2017-18; and exclusive upgrades on any Uniworld 2018 river cruise in Europe, India, Vietnam & Cambodia booked between October 8-14, 2017.

“With industry research finding that more than eight out of ten travellers use a travel agent to plan and book a cruise holiday, using a CLIA accredited travel agent during Plan a Cruise Month is the best way to book a cruise,” Katz said.

--By Louise Goldsbury, Australia Editor