Western Australia Committed to Growing Cruise Business

Ovation of the Seas arrives in Perth

“The State Government (of Western Australia) is committed to growing the cruise industry by addressing regulation and infrastructure issues,” said Tourism WA (Western Australia) Acting CEO Stephen Wood.

Among the changes for cruise operators, casino operations are permitted when ships are traveling between WA ports.

With nine ports, including Perth as a key homeport, WA is in close proximity to ships coming from Southeast Asia, offering a variety of niche destinations.

Mid-West Ports recently installed two sets of shore tension units for Geraldton, Wood said, to ensure reliable berthing. There is also funding heading to Kimberly Ports to purchase an all-tide gangway system for the Port of Broome.

In Exmouth, a steering group has been formed to enhance anchor and tender operations. Wood said Exmouth was a transformational cruise port that holds the key to growth for WA.

“Perth and the port city of Fremantle are also undergoing massive transformations, thanks to unprecedented levels of public and private investment, making both more attractive places to visit,” Wood told Cruise Industry News. “Perth has seen redevelopments on a huge scale including improvements at Perth Airport and the Elizabeth Quay waterfront precinct. Fremantle is undergoing major redevelopment, with more than $1 billion in the investment pipeline. New small bars, restaurants, cafes and retail precincts have popped up in both cities, giving cruise visitors many shore options for dining and shopping.”

Recent highlights included the Queen Mary 2 making a visit to Busselton, with a return call planned in February 2018. The Ovation of the Seas called in Fremantle last December and comes back earlier this year, with a November call on the books.

This coming season will see 44 cruise ship visits for Fremantle, a small decline as some capacity has been moved elsewhere. Cruise & Maritime Voyages is a key customer, homeporting the Astor for a fifth consecutive season.

Inaugural visits are scheduled by the Regatta, Ocean Dream, Azamara Journey, L’Austral, Seven Seas Navigator and Golden Princess.

Tourism WA is pushing its strategy to make its nine ports a key cruise destination, by developing the necessary infrastructure to serve industry capacity, according to Wood.

“Since 2012, Tourism WA has helped to deliver 30 ‘Welcoming Cruise Passengers to the West’ workshops to more than 1,000 tour guides/drivers and volunteers across the state,” he said.

In addition is a newly accredited training program for tour guides funded by Tourism WA, which will debut in Geraldton, Busselton, and Albany.

Advertisements

Royal Caribbean Cruises to buy Adonia from P&O Cruises

Royal Caribbean Cruises to buy Adonia from P&O Cruises

Azamara Club Cruises is to buy P&O Cruises’ ship Adonia, taking its fleet to three ships.

The 30,000-ton ship will join Royal Caribbean Cruises’ upmarket Azamara fleet in March 2018.

It will be renamed Azamara Pursuit and will join two similar-sized ships – Azamara Journey and Azamara Quest.

The 704-passenger ship will undergo refurbishment before Azamara takes delivery. Information about deployment and itineraries will be released in October.

Adonia’s last cruise for P&O will be on February 23 to March 9 starting and ending in Barbados.

Guests booked on any Adonia cruises after March 2018 will be contacted directly either by P&O Cruises or their travel agent.

Adonia returned to P&O’s fleet in Southampton in June after a year on secondment to social impact brand Fathom when it ran the first US sailings from Miami to Cuba in 50 years.

Most recently, the adults-only ship has been running a series of “discovery” itineraries with P&O, including a seven-night cruise to Bordeaux, Honfleur and Guernsey.

P&O Cruises senior vice president Paul Ludlow said: “During her time with us Adonia has captured the hearts of many thousands of P&O Cruises guests. She has ventured into new ports of call around the globe and has negotiated Icelandic Fjords, European rivers and Caribbean coves. We will ensure that these discovery itineraries are continued on other ships in the fleet.

“With almost six months until Adonia leaves the fleet, we will ensure that each of the cruises in her final season with us are extra special and celebratory.”

President and chief executive of Azamara Club Cruises Larry Pimental said: “We are pleased to expand our portfolio by 50%, allowing us to visit even more regions of the world through the acquisition of this sister ship.

“Our loyal guests and travel partners have asked for this expansion for a long time; we are very pleased to deliver this to them.”

Last year, Pimentel described extra capacity in the luxury cruise sector as “too much, too quick and too fast” and warned it would drive down prices.

Earlier this month Silversea Cruises announced it would launch a new ship in 2020 and unveiled plans to build two more.

Ritz-Carlton also revealed its plans to enter the cruise sector with three yachts, while Celebrity Cruises has three ships on order, Ponant has four, and Crystal Cruises, Scenic, Seabourn and Star Clippers also have new vessels set to launch.

Image result for azamara quest

Azamara Quest

Azamara Club Cruises plans to deepen its brand identity as an immersive, destination-oriented cruise line by adding more opportunities for passengers to connect locally on shore excursions and by offering more overnight and late-night port stays.

Azamara has for many years featured longer port stays and overnights, but is “tripling down” in the words of president and CEO Larry Pimentel. Marketing will be built around the phrase “Stay Longer. Experience More.,” which Pimentel, said “is not just a tagline, but a definition of brand essence.”

The two-ship line (Azamara operates the 700-passenger Quest and Journey) will offer over one thousand destination experiences “that can’t be Googled or found anywhere else because we’re creating them,” Pimentel said.

It will include over 250 overnight and late-night stays (8 p.m. or later) in ports, which is roughly 50% of all its port calls, in a total of 70 countries. He also said that over 50% of the ports on its itineraries are ones where larger ships can’t dock.

Azamara’s immersive program includes Country Intensive Voyages, a product that will allow guests to experience more of a given country, as the majority of the destinations are concentrated in one country such as Japan, Italy, Spain, Norway, New Zealand, Australia, Greece or Croatia.

Pimentel said that focus on a single country, in which a ship may visit 13 ports in 14 days, gives travel advisers an opportunity to introduce cruising to clients who otherwise might be considering a land-based tour of a country. During a presentation of the concept, he referred to Azamara as “a no-cruise cruise.”

Another new point of emphasis will be “Cruise Global, Connect Local,” a series of land programs that are designed to deliver personalized and authentic experiences. Programs are built around biking, golf, food, local celebrations and site-specific wildlife and wilderness tours, as well as overland tours either during the voyage or pre- and post-cruise.

That tagline is purposefully elastic to permit labeling of specific programs, e.g., “Cruise Global, Bike Local” or “Cruise Global, Golf Local.”

There will also be a program called Meet Local, involving immersive cultural experiences that offer people-to-people connections at the homes, farms and villas of local families, Azamara said.

“Our land product will be curated to ensure guests get to connect in a personalized and unique way with the people in the destinations they visit,” Pimentel said.

Onboard programming will be augmented to present more information than ever on local destinations ranging from local culinary and beverage selections to travel movies, lecturers and panel discussions on destinations and other relevant topics, as well as entertainment.

Pimentel, who is also “chief destination experience officer” for parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., said that the concept could extend to other RCCL brands, but for only for “a very tiny subset” of Royal Caribbean International clients in the highest cabin classifications or a small percentage of Celebrity passengers in “rarefied suites.”

He nonetheless expects that other lines will begin to offer deeper land experiences. “It will change. People always follow a good concept.”