According to the cruise industry, the annual ‘wave season’ is on . . . meaning a wave of incentives to entice more travellers to cruise the seven oceans blue is in full swing, all the way to 2026.
The younger generation used to turn up their noses at cruising – claiming cruising was for geriatrics. However, latest research shows that Gen Z, the first ‘digitally native’ generation, and millennials, are now driving demand growth. Aussies under 35 were found to be the most ‘cruise curious’ with 35 per cent of Aussies under 35 planning to cruise this year compared with 18 per cent of over 65s.
Back in Freo, the annual home-port season launch of P&O Pacific Explorer runs from April to mid June, with sailings ranging between three to 19 nights. The first voyage from Freo is a new 12-night Indonesian Adventure, departs mid-week on 3 April, visiting Broome, Komodo Island, Lombok and Bali. Cost: $2574 per person twin share.
We haven’t had a cruise ship in port since AIDAsol on 11 January, But that is about to change; expect six cruise ships in next couple of weeks, two beauties this week.
First, on Friday, 16 February, the cruise ship MS Volendam will arrive at 6am. She is a Rotterdam-class cruise ship belonging to Holland America Line. This ship is described as spacious and elegant with décor inspired from the garden. Her grand public spaces are graced with floral fabrics and tapestries, as well as huge vases of fresh floral arrangements.
She is a classic old-school cruise ship built back in 1999, and maintains the tradition of dress-up nights. Beachwear, distressed jeans and men’s tank tops are never permitted in the fine-dining restaurants.
You won’t find climbing walls, zip lines or other bells and whistles offered by the new mega-ships. Instead there are regional cooking demonstrations and wine tastings. The ship boasts a huge theatre with a two-story panoramic LED screen, and a large variety of entertainment night and day.
There is a professionally staffed Fitness Centre with cardio and weight machines – indoor cycling and Pilates. Outside are two swimming pools, a basketball and volleyball court.
She can cater for 1432 guests. All guests are greeted by every crew member they pass whether a cabin steward or painter. Volendam is the perfect ‘Goldilocks ship’—big enough to offer plenty of activities and enrichment, but not so big that you get lost in the crowd.
This ship is named after Volendam, a town on Lake Ijssel in the northwestern Netherlands.
She departed Honolulu on 9 January 0n a 52-day cruise, and visits Samoa, Fiji, Vanuatu, New Caledonia, Brisbane, Townsville, Cairns, Komodo Island, Darwin, Broome and Exmouth before arriving in Fremantle. From here, she will visit Albany, Port Lincoln, Kangaroo Island, Adelaide, Melbourne, Hobart, Port Arthur before arriving in Sydney on 2 March.
Volendam arrives at 6am on Friday, 16 February and departs at 5pm on Saturday, 17 February.
Then Queen Mary 2 arrives at 3.30am on Saturday, 17 February and leaves on the same day at 8pm.
She’ll make quite an entrance and quite a departure!
So, both ships will be in port at the same time this Saturday. Head on down to the port to see them during the day, or come on down a little later to see them steam into the sunset. Always a lovely sight!
* STORY by Jean Hudson @jeansodyssey. Jean is our Shipping Correspondent and also a regular feature writer and photographer here on the Shipping News. You may like to follow up her informative Places I Love stories, as well as other feature stories and Freo Today photographs, right here.
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