Cruise Australia.com ~ Discover Cruising at its Very Best!

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Please Note: Cruise-Australia and my other related maritime sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned sites. Please be assured that I am NOT associated with any cruise company or any travel or cruise agency, etc! The author has been in the Passenger Shipping industry for a very long time and although I am now retired, but I am delighted to continue to share my vast knowledge with those who love to take their vacation by sea! Thus I continue to write on worthy Cruise Companies and their wonderful ships in order to better to inform cruise and ship enthusiasts for their pleasure, but more so to ensure that you, my wonderful readers will make the best-informed choice possible on which ship will be just right for you!

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During the past ten years I have enjoyed more than 40 cruises with a variety of cruise companies with some cruises being termed as being “Line Voyages” as well as complete “Around the World Voyages” and countless shorter cruises varying in length, but never shorter than 12 nights! Cruise Companies that I have enjoyed most are P&O World Cruises (UK), Holland America Line (HAL), Princess Cruises and other luxury Cruise Companies, but also two most enjoyable voyages in fine suites, from Fremantle to the UK onboard the 1948 built ex MS Stockholm, then the Classic International Cruises’ MV Athena. However, my most recent cruise was in August 2016 on the Pacific Aria and that was quite a surprise for it was very good indeed, and I rated it very highly for a P&O Cruises Australia ship! A cruise review can be found just below!

Cunard Lines elegant World Cruise Ship and Trans-Atlantic Liner - Queen Mary 2 is seen berthed at the “International

Passenger Terminal.” She has just received a 177 million Australian Dollar refurbishment and other improvements

For details & photographs enter the all-NEW feature the 2016 Remastered Queen Mary 2

 

Welcome to Cruise-Australia.com a website that has been in operation since the mid 1990’s and has been designed especially for the Australian cruise traveller as it has become the world’s fastest growing market! Considering I have personally been in the Passenger Shipping Industry since May 1960, having commenced from a humble office boy, having worked up to a manager to a CEO of a Cruise Company, I certainly know a great deal about the industry I love greatly! Although I retired back in the mid 1980s, I continued as a non-profit Cruise and Ship Reviewer and Maritime Historian, and when undertaking a cruise, I always paid full fares! My only aim has been to provide my knowledge to all those who are seeking the right cruise ship for their needs!

Amazingly, as always, whenever I board a ship soon enough someone will callout my name, this is due to folk having met me either on another cruise, or they are readers of one of my five sites and some even tell me, “We joined this cruise for we read that you would be on-board!” On Holland America Line -and P&O UK ships I always discover that there are many International passengers on board, hailing from a good number of countries, and they will have flown from their home to join the ship either in Sydney or at one or another port. Thus whilst I was on my cruises (for which I always pay my full fares, for I do not believe in freebies), I met countless of my wonderful International readers and supporters from Asia, America, Canada, UK, Germany, the Netherland’s, South Africa and New Zealand and Australia of course!

-The author is seen whilst on one of his many cruises.

Changes: What amazed me was that an amazing number of my supporters that I have met on many cruises as well as those who have emailed me made a number of recommendations in relation to make certain changes to the site, and as you can see, I have! In addition to having worked in this industry for so long, this meant also the creation of a new Cruise Line, and the name that was created continues to operate to this day. To date I have now enjoyed well over 215 Cruises and Line Voyages, but to be honest some were really very good, but I also suffered some, therefore I feel very confident that I do know the difference between what is a good Cruise Company and Ship, and thus one that provides an excellent cruise or expedition experience and one that just does not!

March, 2017: To date my three main Classic Liner and Cruise Sites being: ssmaritime.com & cruise-australia.com have received an amazing 518.28 million readers. Therefore, I wish to thank my wonderful supporters from Australia, New Zealand, throughout Asia, and from all over the world for your wonderful emails, for it is through them many of us have become such good friends. I have been delighted to have been able to guide you and others regarding the ship that has proved to be the most suitable for your next cruise vacation. Thus, thank you for you responses a they have been so encouraging, and I am most grateful for your ongoing support!

Latest Cruise News

April 12, 2017: Princess Cruises has announced that their brand new ship recently having only just commenced her maiden voyage, the 143,000-tonne Majestic Princess will be the largest Princess ship ever to based in Australian waters. She is due to arrive into Sydney Harbour on September 18, 2018, and be based there until March 2019.

Majestic-Princess-Monfalcone-Mar-30-17

Majestic Princess is seen here having just been delivered at the Monfalcone Shipyards on March 30, 2017

Photograph provided by & © princess Cruises

For full details of her Australian deployment visit Australian Cruise News, and the New MV Majestic Princess Feature online!

NEW - Pacific Aria Two Reviews: Recently I returned from two delightful cruises on the MV Pacific Aria, the first was in August & September and I then decided to do a short cruise early in December, which was followed up by and amazing 14 Day Papua New Guinea Cruise in February 2017. Whilst aboard in August I commenced to write my first review, and wrote a new one for the February cruise, being such a spectacular voyage of an amazing nation, which is really worth while visiting, and by cruise ship is the best way! For those who live in Northern NSW, Brisbane and Queensland, the Pacific Aria is ideal for those who prefer a ship that is not over crowded, for it is a more intimate ship, with never more that 1,500 passengers aboard, but more often with around 1,200 to 1,300 passengers aboard! To Enter the two Reviews CLICK the Image below or just click HERE.

Two Cruise Reviews; 18-Day South Pacific in August 2016 & 14-Day PNG in February 2017

 

Also visit the Australian Cruise News

 

 

A Bright & New Refurbished MV Pacific Dawn

Arrives Home to Brisbane on March16, 2017

 

The refurbished Pacific Dawn, which arrived home to Brisbane to recommence her

schedules as a wonderful new style of cruise ship! Enter her NEW feature HERE

 

 

--A Special NEWS Items--

A Massive fleet of 41 ships will operate to & from Australian Ports

during the 2017 Summer Season

 

The Hapag Lloyd new ship the Europa 2 will be making her maiden visit to Australia

Due to the ever increasing demand for cruising by Australian’s and with new ships being added to our Australian based fleets, such as P&O’s new addition of the Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden in 2015, as well as the addition of the Pacific Explorer, currently the Dawn Princess, in April 2017, Australia is about to welcome an unprecedented number of cruise ships during this summer cruise season. It is for that reason there will be a record 41 ships sailing from our shores, including eight ships making their maiden visits to Australia. Among the flotilla will be the largest cruise ship ever to visit Australia, being Royal Caribbean new 167,000-tonne MV Ovation of the Seas.

The amazing Ovation of the Seas, is a ship that seems to have just about everything

Between all these ships they will make almost 900 calls to ports around Australia during this summer season, and this is up by a good 10 per cent on last year’s numbers! Overall, passenger numbers have already been up and these are always increasing each and every year, as Australia continues to have the world’s fastest growing Cruise Industry! For more on this news item and many further photographs enter the Link below.

The Layout of this Page:

These days there certainly are some wonderful and diverse cruise companies around and I do mean from the ultimate super deluxe 6½ Star Rated Boutique Cruise Companies or a luxurious all-suite all inclusive 6 Star cruise line, followed by the luxury high standard 5 Star Cruise Companies. Next are those excellent standard 4½ to 4 Star cruise ships, which certainly offer a high standard and are superbly maintained, as well as offering excellent service and cuisine and all of the afore mentioned are established companies with a proven record.

PEASE NOTE: There is also an Index Bar towards the bottom of the page.

Then there are the slightly more basic but still good 3½ to 3/4 Star companies, such as P&O Cruises Australia, Carnival Cruises and Royal Caribbean & and other similar companies in these categories. Remember that most of their ships are really only suitable to a certain clientele, as well as families who prefer a ship that is more of a “Theme Park at Sea,” thus these ships are fine ships and mostly offer fine food, entertainment, and service is always excellent, but they tend to be very crowded and overly noisy. This applies to P&O Cruises Australia and Carnival Cruises and all the other Fun Park style Cruise Companies! All these companies are mostly aimed at a younger pub based clientele! Sorry for being so direct, but I have had a tragic recent experience with one of these companies and it was certainly not suitable to our taste! But, I do have to review all cruise lines and I do this at my own expense as Cruise-Australia is 100% non-commercial!

Companies listed below are rated from the highest to the lowest Star Rating, although due to space I am unable to cover all cruise lines and ships in each category, but below you will discover some of the best known whilst the others will be found on the Main Index at the bottom of the page.

Bon Voyage - Reuben Goossens.

Please Note: Below you will a list of the companies listed on this page. However, there is a complete Cruise INDEX Bar at the bottom of the page that has all the features online. But, I strongly suggest that if this your first visit to this site, that you read this page first and then use the Index Bar at the bottom of the page, for this page is constantly updated with new companies & ships added!

--Companies Listed on this Page--

Companies listed commence from the most Glamorous Boutique style and Luxurious smaller ships, which tend to be almost all inclusive 6½ to 6 Star cruise ships, and I head slowly to the popular, but more family and younger generation oriented clientele companies, which operate excellent 3½ or 3 Star cruise ships: Some of the companies and ships covered on this page alone are as follows

Silversea Cruises - Scenic Ocean Cruises - SeaDream Yacht Club - Seabourn Cruises - Celebrity CruisesCunard Line - Holland America Line - P&O World Cruises - Princess Cruises - Coral Expeditions - Aranui Cruises Tahiti - Cruise & Maritime Voyages operating the Classic Cruise Ship, the MS Marco Polo - P&O Cruises Australia operating their new MV Pacific Aria & Eden and soon the MV Pacific Explorer in 2017 - Carnival Cruises and finally the Captain Cook Cruises Murray River Paddle steamer, the PS Murray Princess.

However, the above is just a partial selection, for our Cruise Index that have an extensive selection of ships for you to discover on cruise-australia.com & cruise-australia.net, which work in combination.

Should you have any queries regarding a cruise? ~ You are welcome to send me an email; just Click Here or the main email link down the page, and I will be more than happy to assist you, and remember, this is not an agency and I do not sell cruises, and I am not associated with any cruise/travel agency or any Cruise Company, for the truth is that nobody has me in their pocket! Therefore, you will always receive a 100% honest answerer!

Best wishes, Reuben Goossens.

I commenced in the passenger shipping industry in 1960, thus be assured, I do know a thing or two!

6½ Star Cruise Lines:

The World’s Best Cruise Line:

Silversea:

Many do not know that the company that used to be Sitmar is still operating, but under a new name “V-Ships” and this company is one of the world largest ship management companies, and they also own the Cruise Company that is known as Silversea Cruises and this company is known around the world as “World’s Best Small Ship Cruise Line” according to the “Cónde Nast Traveller” and they have done so for ten years in a row! The famed “Fielding’s Guide to World Wide Cruises” have rated Silversea as a “Six Star Cruise Company” and the list just goes on. Visit Silversea Awards for a comprehensive list!

The 36,000-ton MV Silver Spirit accommodates just 540 guests in the ultimate of luxury and style!

Photo provided by & © Silversea Cruises

Thus, the high standard of Sitmar Cruises in the 1970 and 1980’s continues to this very day, however being a six star cruise company fares will be somewhat higher. But it is worthy to note, that once your fare is paid, you will not be residing in a cabin but you can expect a luxury suite, for their ships only have suites. Your fare of course includes your meals and entertainment, etc, but also all your drinks and yes even champagne and soft drinks, etc., even your in suite mini bar is refilled daily for free!

Also, I just love it when we board the ship you are greeted and you are given a frosty glass of champagne or a drink of your choice and escorted into a cosy lounge. When you check in has been completed, you will be escorted by a gloved steward to your suite. As this is a highly rated company I am delighted to feature it on Cruise-Australia!

Enter the Silversea Cruises feature

 

6 Star Cruise Lines: Small and Mid Sized Ships:

Scenic Luxury Cruises:

The world finest All Inclusive & All Suite Super Mega Yacht:

The acclaimed Australian based “Scenic° Luxury Cruises and Tours” will be introducing their 6-Star Ultra-Luxury Mega Yacht the “MV Scenic Eclipse” as she is due to depart Istanbul on her Maiden cruise on August 31, 2018. This the remarkable 16,500 GRT, 228 guest ship will join the Scenic Group’s all inclusive luxury fleet of 21 River Cruise ships that sail throughout Europe, Russia as well as South East Asia!

The world’s most innovative and luxurious Mega Expedition Yacht ever to be built

The Scenic Eclipse is all inclusive of dining in any of the six fine Restaurants, or full in-Suite dinning, butler service is available to every guest, and drinks from soft drinks to the top lever liqueurs and champagnes are included a are excursions! Thus this being the ultimate Luxury Mega Yacht to sail on, for I certainly will!

Innovative Design:

However, this ship is unlike other ship ever built in the word for she will be the most technically advanced in the world, as well as the safest ship afloat, and she will have an ice-class rating of 1A Super allowing her to reach places that other ice strengthened ships cannot reach! Apart from this she will have her own two Helicopters housed in separate hangers as well as a seven-seat Submarine allowing the Scenic Eclipse’s guests to go where no one has gone before on an expedition voyage of discovery!

Philippe Donche-Gay, Executive Vice-President and Managing Director of the Marine & Offshore Division, “Bureau VERITAS,” said;

“Bureau VERITAS was involved at an early stage of design, working closely with the owners, of the shipyard and well known design offices for the development of this new concept cruise ship. Our expertise with safety, Polar conditions and comfort on board were all critical elements of the new concept which Scenic presents as a six-star luxury discovery yacht.”

Scenic Eclipse will be powered by two separate diesel-electric propulsion plants in separate fireproof areas, as well as two pods. She will have two Galleys’, two separate refrigeration plants, two Bridges and so much more, which you can read on the main feature. She will be granted the highest “Bureau VERITAS” Marks and Notations, including the “new Polar Class” and several additional class notations relating to pollution prevention, such as advanced wastewater treatment system, ballast water management system, waste holding capacity and a Green Passport.

The Scenic Eclipse seen off Santorini when she will be sailing the Greek Islands

I highly recommend that you visit the new two page feature and after you have fully read it and seen the Deck Plan on Page Two, that you: 1. View the six minute Video, and: 2. Download the Preview Brochure. Reuben Goossens.

Enter the Scenic Eclipse Feature

 

SeaDream Yacht Club:

I will commence with one very special intimate Yacht Club and that company will be followed by another company that operates five beautiful and popular small to mid sized ships. These are the luxurious Sea Dream Yacht Club and Seabourn Cruises and both of these wonderful companies are full Six Star all-inclusive and all-suite superb lines!

The intimate super yacht MV SeaDream 1 is seen off St Lucia

Provided by & © Sea Dream Yacht Club

SeaDream Yachts operate two identical vessels and they are unique in that they are super luxurious, however guests seem to return repeatedly, for they enjoy the champagne and caviar lifestyle on board, which is included of course, yet the yachts are so intimate and never pretentious. Formal wear is seldom seen for these are leisurely and joyous luxury cruise vacations with a difference! These yachts come highly recommended!

Enter the SeaDream Yachts feature

Seabourn Cruises:

The excellent MV Seabourn Sojourn one of an extensive fleet of ships

Provided by & © Seabourn Cruises’ MG. Media

Seabourn Cruises is a popular cruise company and they originally commenced with two delightful 10,000-ton ships the Seabourn Spirit & Legend, but the company have now built three somewhat larger ships of 32,346-tons, being the new and ultimate Seabourn fleet the; MV Seabourn Odyssey, Seabourn Sojourn and Seabourn Quest and a fourth ship the Seabourn Encore is due in January 2017. Seabourn is an all-suite and luxurious all suite yacht cruise line operating the most glamorous and luxurious midsized ships, and they are known for offering the best of two worlds, intimacy with small passenger numbers as well as offering big ship facilities!

Enter the Seabourn Yachts feature

 

6 Star Large to Mid Sized Ships:

Celebrity Cruises:

We will now look at the 6 Star large ship category and one of the most celebrated companies is Celebrity Cruises who have an amazing fleet of ships, including the superb 122,000 GRT (Gross Registered Ton) MV Celebrity Solstice that the first of a series of five revolutionary ships to be built at the Famed German Meyer Werft Ship Yards. She was completed and having been delivered, she made her maiden voyage on November 23, 2008. Her four sister’s ships followed rapidly thereafter, such as the MV Celebrity Equinox, EclipseSilhouette and the Reflection, which entered in service in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 respectively. Celebrity’s smallest vessel is the delightful intimate 2,842-ton 98-guest mega-yacht, the MV Celebrity Xpedition, which spends her time exploring the Galapagos Islands.

Photograph © Celebrity Cruises

The MV Celebrity Solstice offers an aesthetic voyage to please the senses, and this ship will offer countless exciting features, including a 24-hour cyber I. Indulge in the onboard “AquaSpa” featuring the magnificent “Persian” retreat. For her sheer size, the Solstice accommodates just 2,800 passengers and she has a crew of 1,500. In addition, this is one of the world’s most advanced ships and she has become known for having created a brand new class of modern stylish luxury. This fully digital cruise ship offers Wi-Fi throughout the ship, and she has a garden that has new age music and offers a variety of therapy’s available. Passengers can even enjoy watching an exclusive glass blowing show being an all-time first on the seven seas. There is no doubt, but the Celebrity Solstice is far beyond anything that has ever been seen at sea before she was built!

The delightfully luxury two-funnelled MV Celebrity Solstice is one of the largest cruise ships to be based in Australia

She is seen here at Sydney’s Passenger Cruise Terminal, Circular Quay located opposite the world famous “Sydney Opera House”

Photograph © Celebrity Cruises

2016 & 2017 Cruises out of Sydney:

Celebrity Cruises is famed for having a magnificent and a substantial fleet of luxury cruise ships ranging from magnificent Mega-yacht to ships around 90,000-tons to a number of ships up to 122,000-tons sailing in various parts of the world.

And now the MV Celebrity Solstice calls Australia home during our warmer months and she cruises around the South Pacific as well as New Zealand from October to April in 2016 as well as 2017. However there are also Trans-Pacific voyages available in both directions from Sydney to Vancouver sailing via the Pacific Islands as well as the Hawaiian Islands! However the Solstice will be joined by the 2,138 passenger, 91,963-ton MV Celebrity Millennium, which also operates some cruises out of Singapore and then she will come to Sydney and operate a voyage Trans-Pacific voyage to Vancouver.

The elegant MV Celebrity Millennium

Photograph © Celebrity Cruises

Enter the … MV Celebrity Solstice Feature

 

However be assured, Cruise-Australia is not just all about the Super Luxury Ships, for I shall be featuring a vast range of ships to suit all tastes and pockets from, Five, 4½ and 4 Star, as well as the more economical 3½ to 3 Star Cruise Companies. The next line featured is Cunard Line and you will note that especially on the Queen Mary II there are four main grades of accommodations, and each of these are again divided in price range, and this is assigned to all three of their ships!

5½ 5, 4½ to 4 Star Company operating Large Vista Class Style Ships:

Cunard Line:

Cunard’s.Elegant World Cruise Ship and Trans-Atlantic Liner - Queen Mary 2 is seen berthed at the “International Passenger Terminal”

She has just received a massive 177 million Australian Dollar refurbishment and other improvements

For details & photographs enter the all-NEW feature the 2016 Remastered Queen Mary 2

For interest: It is impossible to give the three luxurious Cunard ships a singe Star rating, this is mainly due to their configuration, which is due to accommodations being based on where you dine, and thus there are separate sections of accommodation that will affect your dining venue. There is the ultimate in dinning, the “Queens Grill” and their accommodations are 5+ Star rated, next comes the luxurious “Princess Grill” and its associated accommodations being 5 Star. This is followed by a more recent innovation the “Britannia Club” with its own dining room and accommodations being 4+ Star and finally there is the two seating two-level Britannia Restaurant and its associated accommodations which are 4 Star.

MV Queen Victoria seen at sea

Photograph provided by & © Carnival Plc/Cunard Line

There is no doubt that a voyage on any of the three Queens will offer the very best ocean going experience, one that will be filled with elegance combined with Cunard’s long standing Tradition!. Thus if you have never experienced the ultimate in formal elegance come and join the Royal fleet, be it on board the 151,400-ton MV Queen Mary or the 90,000-ton Queen Victoria and the latest addition to the fleet the 90,900-ton Queen Elizabeth.

Please Note: The Queen Mary 2 received during late May and June 2016 a comprehensive refit at a massive cost of £90 million UK Pounds, or $177 million Australian Dollars. The work undertaken on board saw her interiors lovingly remastered with new contemporary designs and guest experiences, many of which take inspiration from the original RMS Queen Mary, which was launched at the height of the Art-deco movement in the 1930’s. Cunard’s investment, marks 80 years since the original three funnelled Trans-Atlantic Liner was launched, and they have ensured that every detail from the carpets to the curtains recalls that magnificent and iconic ship, which became a symbol of British elegance!

Thankfully, Australians will be able not just to see, but also to experience the new Queen Mary 2 in our waters, when she visits Australia in February during her 2017 World Voyage. When the QM2 spends time in Australia it will include a memorable “Royal Rendezvous” with the Queen Elizabeth in Sydney on February 25, 2017 and there will also be maiden visits to Tasmania and South Australia’s Kangaroo Island.

Enter our Cunard Introduction Page – Or the 2016 Remastered Queen Mary 2

 

Holland America Line:

Holland America Line is and has been one of my much-loved Cruise Companies and it was officially rated as a 5½ Star Cruise Company. In recent years they have had their 82,305-ton ms Oosterdam operating from Australian waters and she was wonderful and I sailed on her a number of times in a Neptune Suite, which is huge, but as a ship, I certainly never had any complaints. The service was simply superb as was the magnificent cuisine, although the entertainment was good but not great! However, she has now been replaced by the updated class of her kind, being the 1,916 guest, 82,319-ton ms Noordam and although she is excellent ship but sadly some of my favourite open and covered deck spaces has disappeared, for where some of my favourite deck spaces used to be, Carnival decided to build more balcony staterooms. However, you will find that she is packed with some magnificent features and will offer all of the famed Holland America’s million dollar art collection as well as services and superior cuisine! The Noordam has a crew of over 800. Besides her cruises to New Zealand and the South Pacific from October to April annually, she also operates her Trans-Pacific relocation voyages that are over 25-days, from Vancouver to Sydney or return with an excellent range of ports of call in each direction!

ms Noordam is the newest of the Vista Class group of ships

In addition their popular midsized R Class ship, the 61,214-ton ms Volendam, after her Trans-Pacific relocation voyage to Australia will first operate a circle Australia cruise and then a voyage to Singapore and she will remain based there and operate cruises from Singapore and Hong Kong during our summer months and return to the USA from Singapore via Hong Kong.

ms Volendam, together with sisters ms Rotterdam, Zaandam and Amsterdam are my favourite upmarket

Cruise ships, with just under 1,400 passengers and are around 63,000-tons making them the perfect ships!

Photograph by & © Jeremy Ludlow

However, late in 2016 the delightful S Class 55,575-ton ms Maasdam will also join the Australian fleet and she will cruise the Pacific and New Zealand together with the ms Noordam. The ms Maasdam will also operate pre and post Trans-Pacific voyages to and from Australia and North America.

The delightfully intimate 5 Star ms Maasdam

Carnival transferred two of her sisters to P&O Australia

and are now MV Pacific Aria & Pacific Eden, but are 3½ to 4 Star ships

In addition, the 59,885-ton ms Rotterdam makes her regular Rotterdam to Singapore Line voyage and then operated several voyages of the Indonesian Islands and then does her return voyage from Singapore to Rotterdam the Netherlands. Thus between these four ships great cruise opportunities are available! In addition the other HAL ships visits Australia and New Zealand during their Grand World Voyages in most years. It is for this reason that the Australian “AFTA National Travel Industry Awards” has awarded Holland America Line in the past as being the “Best (International based) Cruise Operator.”

Holland America Line ships interiors are known world wide as being more like “Floating Art Palaces” and a company that over the years have offered some of the finest cuisine at sea as well as perfect service. Thus to date every cruise that I have undertaken with HAL has been total perfection!

Holland America Line has the very special more intimate and super luxurious 835 Guests, 38,100-ton ms Prinsendam and she is rated a full 6 Stars! The wonderful Prinsendam is known as “The Elegant World Explorer” and operates Grand South American & Antarctica voyages; Grand Mediterranean Cruises as well as cruises in and around Europe and South America. This is a very special ship and I hope and pray that Carnival will not ruin her like the rest of the fleet!

The 6 Star super luxurious ms Prinsendam seen in New York

HAL over the years has certainly been famed for their amazing cuisine, which is some of the finest at sea, and I know, having enjoyed their fine meals so many times over the years this is covered on my Holland America pages! However, I am worried about the companies future as most of their old senior Dutch executive staff seem to be leaving for one reason or another, and they are being replaced by American’s, like Orlando Ashford who sadly have little to no knowledge or understanding of shipping, and are men and women mostly from banking, accounting firms, marketing, hotel and other hospitality industries, but not shipping, which is tragic! Sadly today cruising is all about getting every dollar out of the passenger, once they get you on the ship and that applies to most cruise companies these days, I am afraid, but Carnival, NCL and Royal Caribbean Cruise Companies are the worst!

And the ms Noordam feature

 

Read my ms Oosterdam 2014 Review

 

And the new ms Koningsdam feature

But sadly, this new ship represents the tragic Carnivalisation of Holland America

 

Also visit the Australian Cruise News

4½ to 4 Star Cruise Companies:

P&O World Cruises:

Above we see the entire P&O International fleet

Photograph © P&O UK

Last but certainly not least is the British P&O Cruises World Voyages & P&O European and Caribbean Cruises is without a doubt a quality 5 to 4+ Star company. Over the many years in the past going as far back when I was a boy I sailed with P&O many times with the first ship I boarded being the Himalaya. I continued sailing with them, both on Line voyages and cruises up to the days of the wonderful SS Oriana and finally the great SS Canberra, including World voyage sectors!

To this day it is a company that continues to offer a great voyage and for those who find Cunard just too stuffy, P&O is simply perfect, however there are still ample formal nights as well as semi formal and casual nights. And Andersons and the Crows nest lounges will not allow those not correctly dressed to enter and that includes the man restaurants, but the Buffet does serve fine food and casual id permitted and there are ample other lounges to visit!

My beloved MV Oriana seen at Circular Quay, Sydney on February 28, 2008

Photograph by & © Reuben Goossens

P&O UK who currently operates eight cruise ships, including the delightfully traditional ships, the MV Aurora, Oriana and the Vista Class MV Arcadia, being the ships that operate regular “World Cruises” or “Around the World Cruises” and all ships will visit a good number of ports in Australia in February/March! Although of the modern ships I prefer the MV Oriana, which is my favourite, but she is followed by the MV Aurora as both ships are wonderful and were beautifully designed! But sadly after the Aurora was built that was the end of good maritime design, for tragically Carnival took over and the Vista Class ships took over and next we saw the boxlike Arcadia, being the very same ship as is found in so many of the Carnival controlled companies and they include the Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth and so many more! But I will always have my wonderful memories of the more traditional ships!

The MV Arcadia is seen at Fishermans Island in Brisbane as it cannot reach, nor berth at the excellent Portside Cruise Terminal

Photograph by & © David-Kellett

In those wonderful days I sailed on P&O UK many times and I do mean going way back to the wonderful days of the RMS Himalaya, Orcades the superbly built modern ship, the SS Canberra. How can I ever forget the very last “Orient Liner” ever to be built the wonderful and greatly loved SS Oriana, having sailed on this fine ship, on line-voyages as well as on Pacific Cruises. In relation to the great SS Canberra I enjoyed a number of “sector voyages” during her “Around the World Cruises” right up to her very last voyage before she was sold to be broken up!

The all new refitted MV Aurora with her British flag Livery, blue funnel and gold rising sun

and bold Company lettering along her aft hull is seen, this further proof of Carnivalisation

After my beloved classic liners had gone, I cruised a good number of times on the superb new MV Oriana, a ship I have enjoyed greatly as she has a great deal of classic style and finesse, and also sailed on the MV Aurora, and they are great ships. P&O certainly offers an excellent cruise experience, with excellent service, but although the food is quite good, but it is rather traditionally British fare and I have to be honest, the Brits are not the world greatest chefs (with some well known exceptions) and sadly they have little taste, but there are some excellent options at lunch, such as the regular Indian dishes with all the side dishes, then there are the various free Grills that go by various names on each ship as well in the Buffets. But with my experiences, I can honestly say that I have enjoyed my voyages from Brisbane to Southampton, either via the Sues Canal or South Africa with a good number of Asian ports.  In addition we have undertaken the wonderful Trans-Pacific voyage from San Francisco to Australia and it was wonderful!

An introduction to the P&O UK Cruise Ships

 

Enter the MV Aurora feature

 

\

Princess Cruises:

Princess Cruises is one of those well-established 4 Star Cruise Lines and during 2015 Princess Cruises is celebrating its 50 Anniversary, and they like you to be part of the celebrations! However, there was a time when Princess was classed as a 4½ Star Cruise Line, but sadly they have slipped as Carnival have been making far too many cuts and the company is certainly no longer what it used to be!

Princess Cruises originally began with just one voyage to Mexico with a small two-funnelled ship, the “Princess Patricia” and from its lowly beginnings it has grown rapidly!

Over the past years, Australia has had the delightful three “Sun Class Ships” the MV Sun, Dawn and Sea Princess, all of which average around 77,500-tons and accommodates around 1,900 passengers and has a crew of 900. These ships are based in Sydney, Brisbane as well as Melbourne and at various times in other cities that includes Fremantle (Perth). These ships are considered as being large, but they are a good general size as well as being very comfortable. The only thing I found that was poor are their little inside “cupboards,” sorry, I did mean “very small inside cabins.” The truth is that they are far too small and are only just suitable for two persons at best. Thus, do not book any inside cabins for three or four persons, as you will regret it, as they are far too small! These cabins are really the ships only major fault for the rest of these three ships is excellent!

Each ship has a host of excellent lounges and a host of bars as well as countless dining venues. Or between meals, why not visit one of the delightful cafes for that delicheos pastry and a perfectly made Barista style coffee with that traditional crème on the top! The nights come alive on a Princess ship, be it in the huge Princess Theatre where major production shows are presented as well as special guest artist perform, after which  you can head aft to the Vista show Lounge should you so wish, for there will be another show. Or there will be dancing, or various other activities going on around the ship, and then there is the Casino, for those who like to have a flutter! Topside there is Movies under the stars complete with blankets and popcorn is provided!

I suggest that you go and visit the special feature and Photo Page as well as the Deck Plan Page, and you will get to know these ships really well. I have sailed on these ships and I am an Elite Princes Captains Circle member, thus I do recommend them. My only qualification is beware of the inside cabins, Just fine for two persons!

October 2015 Update: Carnival Plc has decided that the Dawn Princess will be transferred to P&O Cruises Australia in 2017. She will be modified for the Australian market and she will be renamed Pacific Explorer. However, a much larger Princess ship will take her place, being the 108,865-tonne MV Golden Princess.

The MV Golden Princess a slightly smaller version of the Diamond Princess

Golden Princess will stay in Australian waters throughout 2017, operating alongside the MV Sun Princess and Sea Princess. Golden Princess accommodates 2,636 passengers based on lower berths and she was last refurbished in May 2015. I will place a new Golden Princess feature online soon.

Diamond Princess:

The 115,876-ton MV Diamond Princess seen at sea

 

Diamond Princess’ fine Atrium is more like a Grand Plaza where people meet each other

be it for chat and a coffee, a drink, or a quiet spot to read there or the Library and the Internet Café

The MV Diamond Princess and the Sapphire Princess will both be sailing from Sydney and Melbourne during our 2015/2016 summer season.

PS: I have returned from my cruise on the Diamond which departed Sydney on September 29 and returned to Sydney on October12, 2015 being a New Zealand cruise. Although due to weather conditions, we missed most of the South Island ports, and went directly to Wellington were we remained for two full days, Princess certainly did not do anything to make up for any loss, and even charged for transfers to town for the second day, which I feel they should have absorbed for the second day!

1: Service from all the waiters on board was without a doubt out standing. 2: The cruise director Warren Smith became known as Dr. Death, for he refused to speak with any of the passengers, he was never heard or hardly ever seen. I saw him twice in his black suit and tie, with his black goatee, looking like a funeral director. I said a friendly good Morning to him, but he turned his face and lifted his chin, as I was dirt. However, his assistant a delightful young lady was simply wonderful so full of life!

A complete cruise review is now online containing the many good things as well as the things that were certainly not so good. The link is located below!

Please Note: Those with walking problems, these large ships over 100,000-tons are simply not suitable and I suggest that you do not cruise on them. It would be much better to sail a smaller ship, up to 75,000 to 85,000-tons and certainly nothing larger than that. However, personally I prefer ships in the 35,500 to 65,500-ton range!

Visit the Sun Class Ships Feature

 

Also Two Features … MV Golden Princess - MV Diamond Princess & MV Majestic Princess

 

Also visit the Australian Cruise News

 

Coral Expeditions:

 

The MV Coral Discoverer seen towards sunset at the Kimberley’s, Australia

Coral Expeditions was established in 1983 and today is one of Australia’s most awarded “Expedition Cruise Operators.” The company was founded in Queensland, Australia and they were the first to operate environmentally sensitive cruises around the Great Barrier Reef. In 2016, a good thirty-three years later the fleet has grown from one to three fine vessels, that includes two 35-metre catamarans the Coral Expeditions I and Coral Expeditions II, and in 2005 the state-of-the-art flagship was completed in Australia, the magnificent MV Coral Discoverer. Coral Expeditions offers expedition cruises to the World Heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, the famed Kimberley region, Cape York and Arnhem Land, as well as exotic Papua New Guinea and Indonesia, the Islands of the South Pacific Tasmania, New Zealand and now as from 2016, South East Asia. Thus there is a range of cruises to amazing exotic Australian destinations in two superbly appointed vessels that operate in Australian waters, and the amazing SOLAS certified MV Coral Discoverer which covers Australia and sails far further afield!

Visit the Coral Expeditions - MV Coral Discoverer

 

Aranui Cruises ~ Tahiti:

 

A rendition of the MV Aranui 5 seen in a Pacific Paradise!

--14 Relaxing Days in Paradise, a Cruise that is filled with Tropical Exotica!--

Although the popular current passenger-freighter, the MV Aranui 3 being a has been most popular and successfully operating for 12 years, however in January 2016 the newly built far more luxurious 4 Star MV Aranui 5 will offer far more private balcony staterooms than ever before, in fact 60 out of her 103 suites and staterooms will have a private balcony. From what I have seen, her public venues, dining are superb and offer the finest of French and international cuisine and wines. The Aranui 5 will offer ample recreational facilities and ample deck space, and a swimming pool, a gym and a Spa, with Massage facilities as well as anything a full cruise ship can offer! Enter my new feature and be amazed at these glorious and exotic tropical 14 day voyages departing on a Saturday from Papeete sailing to so many wonderful ports and small villages around the remote Tuamotu and Marquesas archipelago’s, where you will meet, some of the worlds most friendly and amazing people! Personally, I highly recommended this amazing expedition voyage in the South Pacific!

Reuben Goossens.

Enter the MV Aranui 5 Feature

 

3½ to 3 Star Cruise Companies:

Cruise & Maritime Voyages:

--MS Marco Polo--

The very sleek and beautiful Cruise & Maritime Voyages Classic Cruise ship Marco Polo

To my knowledge this photo came from the sources of Cruise & Maritime Voyages (CMV)

The MS Marco Polo is the ship for those who appreciate a genuine Classic ex Liner, but today she is a beautiful and a fully up to date Cruise Ship, a ship that still feels like a “Real Ship!

The remarkable MS Marco Polo was built in East Germany and she commenced cruising in late August 1965 for the Baltic Shipping Company. The on April 13, 1966 she commenced her Trans-Atlantic line role, which she operated between the Leningrad and Montreal, Canada. This service was operated during the summer months, whilst during the other times she returned to being a cruise ship!

However, it was in 1991 this amazing ship was obtained by Gerry Herrod who was setting up a new cruise company by the name of “Orient Lines”, which would offer cruising to the Far East and offer exotic cruises. Thus the Aleksandr Pushkin was the perfect size for his new operation and the ship was renamed the “Marco Polo” obviously after the famous Italian explorer who went as far as China. Her fine 1965-built hull and superstructure was in excellent condition, but in order to create a new style ship and a contract was given to a Greek Shipyard. There, she was given the $60 million rebuild, which first meant she had to ne internally gutted and then commence to rebuild a completely new ship within the existing hull and fashionable new interiors which would turn her into the very stylish cruise ship she is today, although the work did take two years.

An Orient Line postcard of the MS Marco Polo

From the Author’s Private Collection

Although we should note that she has had new owners and a number of refits, with the last being in 2014.

There is a brand new feature online that provides a general overview of the ship as she is today owned by the famed “Cruise & Maritime Voyages” (CMV), together with a Cruise Review by Mr. John Happs and His dear wife Hazel who sailed on her in June 2016 to Iceland and their thoughts are most enlightening, for it was their very first voyage on a Classic style or as John said a; “Real Ship” ever! For they have only cruised on modern and large cruise ships in the past.

This is what Classic Ship lovers would call a photo of “The Beauty and the Beast!”

The sleek lines of the Marco Polo and that huge box like of flats come floating hotel, which has no

Walk-around or any Promenade Deck whatsoever for it is mostly taken over by the ships lifeboats!

Photograph taken at Rostock, Germany by & © Anders Bergenek

Page Two has her current Deck Plan and below the Deck Plan there is a selection of the ships accommodations, complete with photographs and a description of 9 of the 14 grades that she has on offer.

Enter MS Marco Polo Two Page Feature & Cruise Review

 

 

--MV Pacific Aria & Pacific Eden--

 

Pacific Aria seen at anchor of Kiriwina Island PNG on Sunday February 18, 2017

Photograph by & © Mr. Hun-Eng Tan of Cruise-Australia

 

Click this link for two - Pacific Aria Reviews

- for a cruise review and a complete tour of P&O’s amazing Pacific Aria

Based on our 14-Day PNG cruise ex Brisbane February 10, & an 18 Day South Pacific Cruise Aug 2016

by the Author, Reuben Goossens

These were two of Holland America Line luxury cruise ships and they have added a whole new dimension to Australian cruising as they are such delightful medium-sized 55,820 ton ships. The Aria and Eden accommodate around 1,300 guests each and thus compared to the other ships in the P&O Cruises fleet, these are delightfully intimate and stylish ships. The Pacific Aria and Eden have a wonderful range of superbly designed lounges and as you will see on this special Cruise Review online, their accommodations are by far more spacious, with every cabin having a sofa, come lounge area and they are therefore superior!

MV Pacific Explorer:

P&O’s exiting all new look, Pacific explorer will enter into its ever-growing Fleet!

The MV Dawn Princess will enter the SembCorp Marine Ltd shipyard in Singapore after her final 28-day cruise for Princess Cruises sailing from Sydney, Brisbane and Fremantle with a host of exciting ports of call! In Singapore she will under go a complete, and one of the most extensive transformations ever seen to make this fine ship into a far better ship, making her a genuine P&O Australia cruise ship, which will be officially named Pacific Explorer when she arrives home in Australia! The new ship will feature some very exciting new Lounges and Bars, Theatres and Showrooms and Nightclubs and six wonderful Dinning Venues. There will also be for the very first time for a P&O ship a Waterpark housed within the louvered the funnel casing and a large Water Slide aft of the ship!

The three level Atrium offers the Reception, Tours Desk, Restaurants, Boutiques, a Shop, Bars and the Café

 

The delightful Café is not just a restful location on the portside of the lower level of the atrium

But it offers the very best Latte’s or an espresso as well as a fresh pastry or a snack

 

The Summer Pub located on Promenade Deck (7)

 

Visit the … MV Pacific Explorer with many promotional illustrations by P&O

Including details regarding the new 135,000-ton ship in building due in late in 2019 or 2020

 

Also visit MV Pacific Dawn’s and discover her

amazing complete refurbishment early in 2017

 

Also visit the Australian Cruise News

 

 

Carnival Cruises:

MV Carnival Legend is seen in Hobart Tasmania

Photographer unknown – Please see Photo notes at bottom of page

Carnival Cruises operates has the 88,500-ton MV Carnival Spirit based in Sydney year round, and her sister ship, the 88,500-ton MV Carnival Legend that operates during the holiday period from Sydney between October and April. Carnival ships are very much aimed at fun-loving Australians who are seeking an active, vibrant cruise vacation that has a broad diversity of on-board choices of entertainment, sports, pools and of course heaps of bars. The Carnival ships certainly offers huge outdoor areas for fun, including the 22-metre corkscrew water slide, as well as not just one or two; no there are four swimming pools on these amazing ships. Then there is a miniature golf course, a jogging track and a sport court. Passengers have their choice of 16 lounges and bars, including the massive 1,170-seat three deck high Pharaoh’s Palace Theatre. These are the perfect ships for a family vacation, but not recommended for those who are looking forward to a quiet and a restful cruise vacation, for like the Royal Caribbean and P&O Australia, Carnival Cruises tend to be somewhat raucous ships to say the least and they would not be for the cruise connoisseurs, and are not to my taste!

Enter the MV Carnival Spirit Page

 

Also visit the Australian Cruise News

 

PS Murray Princess:

 

The sublimely beautiful Paddlewheeler Murray Princess awaits you at Mannum, South Australia!

The beautiful Murray River is Australia’s longest River, at 2,508 klm in length and it commences as a small stream in the Australian Alps and it meanders and carves steep Riverbanks to the Mallee, where it touches the Australian desert and our great outback region. Murray Mallee is blessed with diverse and contrasting Australian landscapes, wildlife and locals. Interestingly, the River makes up much of the border between the Australian states of New South Wales Victoria, New South Wales and South Australia.

The regular cruising schedule is as follows: 1: The 3 Night Cruise departs every Friday. 2: Whilst the 4 Night Cruise departs every Monday. 3: Or you can participate of the enjoyable full length 7 Night combined Voyage that departs either on a Friday, or on Monday, and you will enjoy the very best of both the 3 and 4 night cruises in the two directions of the river she operates!

A stern view of her paddlewheel and the aft Lounge windows

The PS Murray Princess is a genuine inland Paddlewheeler especially built in 1986 to sail along the massive Murray River, and she certainly continues a great Australian character and that special charm of yesteryear. The Murray Princess is the largest inland Paddlewheeler located in, or operating in the southern hemisphere. This fine stern driven Paddlewheeler accommodates just 120 passengers and she offers all the unique advantages of small ship cruising to the remarkable, if not one of the most beautiful river setting of Australia’s outback. She offers a two level stern lounge with towering windows from top to bottom in a beautifully timbered venue! There is a wonderful bar located forward and an excellent Dinning Room that offers excellent meals, all of course being included as are most of the onshore excursions!

A voyage on the PS Murray Princess is a highly recommended experience, in fact the author will be undertaking one in a few months, have not booked it as yet, but will do so. And please remember, I pay full fares and do not ask for favours, as my sites will always remain 100% non-commercial!

Enter the PS Murray Princess Feature

 

In Conclusion:

I trust that you will be able to find what you are after, for I have presented the best Cruise Companies that will offer you the very best possible cruise vacation! Therefore be assured that there is much to be discovered on Cruise-Australia, thus go and discover the perfect cruise, one that will best suit your life-style and the ship that will suit your needs, use the various links on this page, or via … The Main Index.

An Important Note on HOW to Book Your Cruise: First of  all, I highly recommend that go and see a Good and a Long Established fully Registered Travel-Cruise Agency for information, bookings and you will obtain the best possible cruise fares from them as well as service until you are about to depart!

Sadly I have found that booking direct through any of the cruise companies, be it online or per phone that 1. You will not obtain the best fare. 2. And you will not receive any service, mostly due to the staff on the phone knowing little to nothing about their own product.

I discovered this personally by having booked with Princess Cruises and believe me, it was a harrowing experience for I only booked it online as there was a special that had to be booked by a certain hour that day, yet I never received it. I find it very sad to sad to say, but the Carnival computer systems and land-based staff are without a doubt the worst I have ever experienced! And I have been in the Passenger Shipping trade since 1960 for heaven’s sake!

Therefore, do yourself a favour and go and see a good Cruise Agent who will look after you correctly!

Reuben Goossens.

Maritime Historian, Cruise‘n’Ship Reviewer, Author & Lecturer.

Commenced in the Passenger/Cruise Shipping Industry in 1960.

 

Enter the Cruise Index below, for all features on Cruise-Australia

Return to the Cruise-Australia - INDEX

 

To Email the author … Click Here

 

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Photographs on cruise-australia.com & .net are: 1. By the author. 2. From the author’s private collection. 3. As provided by Shipping Companies and their Publicity Companies as well as by private photographers or collectors. Credit is given to all contributors. However, there are some photographs provided without details regarding the photographer concerned., therefore I hereby invite if owners of those images to be so kind and make them-selves known to me, in order that due credit may be given!!

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