Princess Announces Biggest Australian Deployment

Majestic Princess

Princess Cruises today announced its biggest Australia season ever, with five ships sailing from six homeports for the 2019-2020 Australia cruise season.

Three ships, including the Majestic Princess, will complete itineraries to and from Adelaide over the 2019-2020 Australia season.

Other highlights from Adelaide include an 18-day Fiji cruise on Golden Princess and a new 55-day Indian Ocean and South Africa Odyssey cruise on Sun Princess.

“Princess is gearing up for our largest Australian and New Zealand deployment in history, which will see a record number of people cruising on Princess ships over the 2019/2020 season,” said Senior Vice President Princess Cruises Asia Pacific, Stuart Allison

“Our largest ever deployment will feature five ships sailing from six homeports on over 125 departures across more than 60 itineraries to over 100 destinations in 30 countries. The arrival of Ruby Princess, combined with news of Majestic’s return before she’s completed her maiden season here, means we’ll have two of the four latest Princess ships sailing in this region which speaks to the momentous growth of our market.”

“The cruise industry is integral to South Australia’s $6.3 billion visitor economy,” said Rodney Harrex, Chief Executive, The South Australian Tourism Commission.

“Princess Cruises’ continued commitment to Adelaide demonstrates that South Australia is a key player in the cruise industry. We are delighted to welcome these cruise ships, passengers and crew to our State and look forward to visitors getting a taste of some our world-class experiences so easily accessible from Adelaide.”

The 2019/2020 Australian cruise season will be Princess’ largest in history. The 900+ day Australian deployment will see Princess carry more guests than ever onboard five ships on itineraries from Sydney, Perth (Fremantle), Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and Auckland, the company said.

The season is spearheaded by the maiden arrival of the Ruby Princess and the return of the Majestic Princess. Cruising 444 cruise days out of Sydney, Majestic and Ruby will generate a combined landmark capacity of over 100,000 guests, a 25 percent increase on the 2018-2019 season, the company said.

Advertisements

Majestic Princess Set to Sail from Taiwan in 2018 Deployment Change

The Majestic Princess makes a call to Keelung in June.
Majestic Princess
The new Majestic Princess is poised to move into the Taiwanese market from April to July 2018, after which the 2017-built ship will head to Australia for winter 2018-2019.

According to sources with knowledge of the ship’s deployment, the Majestic will sail three- and four-night voyages from Keelung in all of April and May. A spokesperson for Princess Cruises told Cruise Industry News in a written statement that 2018 itineraries have yet to be confirmed.

Following her Taiwan-based short cruise program, the ship will offer longer cruises to Japan in May, June and July from Keelung. It is not known, however, if they will be mixed in with China-based sailings, or if Princess is continuing to cut capacity in China.

Announced in 2015, the Majestic Princess was built and developed for year-round China operations.

Earlier this year, Princess announced she would re-position seasonally to Australia for 2018-2019.

In addition, the Sapphire Princess, which has been dedicated to the Asia and China markets, will be re-deployed to Europe in 2018.

The Freedom of Cruise Ship Redeployment

The Freedom of Cruise Ship Redeployment
PHOTO: The wake behind Carnival Cruise Line’s Carnival Vista. (photo by Mark Leppert)

When it was uncertain that Cuba would remain open to roundtrip cruises from the United States, it was never a worry that the ships on the route would be incapable of redeployment.

Executives like Frank Del Rio, president and chief executive officer for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., repeat that in troubled times, cruise ships can go anywhere.

It’s true. A ship originally slated for the Caribbean can easily end up in Alaska or Europe seasonally, but often that’s the plan all along.

What may not be anticipated are geopolitical tensions or fears of terrorism that warrant ships go elsewhere. The latter has been the reason cruise lines have shied away from Turkey in the Mediterranean, for example.

More recently, cruise itineraries from China have stayed clear of South Korea due to heated relations between the two countries.

It was looking for awhile like the Trump administration would cease permissions for cruises to Cuba, but thankfully Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean International were allowed to continue and Carnival Cruise Line has since been able to make its inaugural run as well.

If not, the Norwegian Sky, Empress of the Seas and Carnival Paradise, respectively, would just have had to cruise to lands beyond, likely still in the Caribbean.


Photo Credit Dave Jones~Norwegian Sky leaving Miami

In the Caribbean and the Mediterranean, there are plenty of alternative ports to go to when some become off limits, but such is not always the case. For the Chinese cruise market, the loss of South Korea as a destination has limited where local ships can head, particularly on itineraries with short durations.

In those cases, Japan is an option, but port capacity saturation is then a concern.

Once a booming market, cruise lines may have to rethink their long-term Chinese potential. Princess Cruises’ Majestic Princess—partially for this reason, as well as consideration of other growth markets—has opted to no longer dedicate itself to China year-round as originally planned. It also now has intentions for Australia-based cruising in 2018 and 2019.

When a cruise ship is built generically for any market, it is easy to deploy anywhere in the world, but when it is purpose-built like the Majestic, it is more challenging to take away.

Whether or not the ship will see any sort of redesign prior to its Australian deployment is still to be determined.

Still, the vast majority of cruise ships are geared towards the American market and can go pretty much anywhere in the world, catering to our sensibilities just fine.

As ships have aged out of their original brands, they have often gone on to later service international clients for different companies. However, now foreign markets are demanding new-builds as much as the American one, leaving older ships somewhat in limbo.

It’s easiest for the most popular fleets to deploy wherever they need to and still have a following, but mature vessels have a harder time of either competing in high-traffic regions or being handed down to other markets.

That’s why it’s always crucial for the cruise industry to be developing new port and destination options for the wide variety of international vessels to service. As long as they exist, there are plenty of places to go around for them all.

Having movable assets is a freedom that most shoreside industries don’t have. Even with its occasional challenges, including tracking complex global conditions, the international cruise fleet has it good compared to, say, a fixed retail shop with poor sales in a failing regional neighborhood.