Luxury cruise ship heading to Australia
A luxury cruise ship promised to be the most modern to call Melbourne home is heading our way for the 2020-21 cruising season.
RCL Cruises has announced the mid-size Celebrity Eclipse will be based in Melbourne from December 23, 2020 until April 4, 2021, joining sister ship Celebrity Solstice which is just about to start her seventh summer sailing out of Sydney.
Passengers on the 2850-guest, 120,000 tonne Eclipse are expected to spend more than A$13 million in Victoria during her first season. She will sail in to Port Phillip Bay after undergoing an A$700 million modernisation which will include updated accommodation, public spaces, tech and dining spaces. Celebrity is known for its design, food and wine, and has enlisted well-known UK interior designer Kelly Hoppen to overhaul its look.
Vice-president and managing director, RCL Cruises, Australia and New Zealand Susan Bonner said the decision to base Eclipse in Victoria is testament to how popular the state is with international and domestic tourists, and represents a significant commitment to the booming Victorian cruise industry. Latest Cruise Line Industry Association figures show Victoria benefited from A$317 million in the 2016-17 cruise season.
"Victoria is Celebrity Cruises' second biggest Australian source market in 2018 and the ships' modern luxury design, and award-winning wine and food program fit perfectly with the state's rich cultural and culinary scene."
Eclipse will make seven round-trip sailings from Melbourne, of eight to 14 nights, to destinations in the South Pacific, New Zealand, Queensland, Tasmania and South Australia.
Two one-way, 11-night sailings New Zealand sailings between Melbourne and Auckland will also be offered, with cruises going on sale on November 7.
Eclipse was launched in 2010 and is remembered for returning 2000 British tourists home when they were stranded in Spain after Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano erupted and shut UK airspace.