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Carnival says goodbye to Melbourne


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18 hours ago, Flickit said:

The TT-Line (Spirit of Tasmania ships) shifted operations from Station Pier to Geelong recently due to claimed Victorian Ports Corporation 'price gouging', plus there were some issues with the 1950's infrastructure at Station Pier... (When it was first announced back in 2020 I assumed the ports corporation was just pushing the Tassie ships out to make room for more cruise ships)

But the Port of Geelong is still under the Victorian Port Authority (Or "Ports Victoria") - it's the same state and same  government body. That's like saying "I hate Carnival. I am going to stop going on Princess and I am going to go on HAL instead". 

 

As other's have pointed out, there is clearly something else going on because the timelines are complete hogwash. For someone who had 'no warning' about this $3-4 increase per passenger, they sure acted quickly by cancelling Cunard Melbourne homeports for 23-24 way back in 2022, and then selling 2025/26 Princess Australia itineraries which exclude Melbourne two weeks before the changes were actually announced. Comparative to their income, where the price of a 5 day cruise on princess in 2023 is now the price of a 4 day cruise in 2025 (a 20% increase) this is a drop in the ocean.

 

Let's not forget that this is the same marketing people who sold us "The new and more expensive plus and premiere packages are better because we took away what is included from the basic fare".

 

Putting actual numbers into this. The site occupation fee per passenger is going up to $32.78AUD before GST and $36.06 after GST in Melbourne. Oh this was too expensive and let's go to Sydney. Well the Site occupation charge for passenger vessels at OPT and White bay cruise terminal is $36.64 before GST or $40.30 after GST. So...yeah that's a lot of savings for carnival...??? However it is probably cheaper at Brisbane as they try to court some business (price for cruise ships at BICT is listed as POA so I can't say for certain). 

 

Odds are, they tried to strongarm Ports Victoria into a sweetheart deal (probably threatening to go to Brisbane, and citing Brisbane's willingness to do non transparent POA deals for cruise ships) and the port authorities didn't fold. So they acted (as they are entitled to) and here we are. We will see how successful they are at filling their ships, given that Melbourne is still the second most populous city in Australia (and this is probably the hand that Ports Victoria tried to play) and they are just moving into an already crowded market. Meanwhile, I sincerely hope you enjoy your extra ships! Have another drink for us poor Melburnians stuck in the power plays 😛 

Edited by fixi
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As someone who has to fly for pretty well every cruise, I can say I am not disappointed that Melbourne is becoming less used by cruise lines. Having flown enough times into Melbourne to catch a cruise I would willingly go to any other Australian port instead these days given the option.

 

Each to their own.

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What's the cost of a flight from Melbourne to Sydney etc and how long does it take?  We're very used to  having to fly for 5 hours and spend $$$ including at least one nights accommodation in order to take the majority of cruises.  Very few cruises begin and / or end in Fremantle.  For all those claiming they'll shift allegiances as a result of this decision by Carnival, I think that's a shame as you're shutting out a large section of the market but, obviously, it's your choice.  I'm sure they'll be many others who will fill your place and the Line will not even register your protest.  

 

Just saying..............

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21 minutes ago, Bubbeh said:

What's the cost of a flight from Melbourne to Sydney etc and how long does it take?  We're very used to  having to fly for 5 hours and spend $$$ including at least one nights accommodation in order to take the majority of cruises.  Very few cruises begin and / or end in Fremantle.  For all those claiming they'll shift allegiances as a result of this decision by Carnival, I think that's a shame as you're shutting out a large section of the market but, obviously, it's your choice.  I'm sure they'll be many others who will fill your place and the Line will not even register your protest.  

 

Just saying..............

The flight from Melbourne is roughly 90 minutes and costs vary from $129 to over $300 one way.

 

Most of our cruises have been from Sydney - only two from Melbourne and one from Brisbane, We had one booked from Fremantle but Covid put paid to that. We're usually quite happy to fly and have a couple of days in Sydney prior to sailing. I must admit though, it was good to be able to sail from our home city without having to spend money on flights, car parking at the airport and accommodation. We have been fortunate that with both Melbourne cruises, family have dropped us off right outside the terminal and picked us up. We haven't had to line up or stand out in the rain and cold as others have done.

 

That said, it is disappointing for Melbourne that Carnival have made this decision. 

Edited by possum52
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3 minutes ago, possum52 said:

That said, it is disappointing for Melbourne that Carnival have made this decision.

I'm not unsympathetic to the disappointment of those affected.  It's certainly preferable to be able to board and disembark in your own City both from a convenience and financial point of view.

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I don't mind flying to Sydney or Brisbane to get a cruise going to PNG or South Pacific but if Princess thinks I'd fly to these ports to take a cruise to NZ, Tassie, Adelaide and so on, as Darryl would say 'tell 'em they're dreaming". I live in the outer east, so a train to Box Hill and then the 109 tram to the port is a perfect run and costs me about $2.50

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I am really disappointed.  I’m going on my second cruise from Melbourne soon.  I’ve cruised from Brisbane and Sydney before and will be sailing from Freo next year.  It is so easy for me to catch a tram to the dock here, rather than pay for airfares and accommodation in the other cities.  Melbourne is definitely not alone in putting the port fees up and it is an absolute furphy that they haven’t been given enough notice.  Carnival is entitled to make their decisions for commercial reasons but latching onto this excuse when it is more expensive elsewhere is marketing spin.  Unfortunately we have media that doesn’t check facts anymore.

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7 hours ago, fixi said:

But the Port of Geelong is still under the Victorian Port Authority (Or "Ports Victoria") - it's the same state and same  government body. That's like saying "I hate Carnival. I am going to stop going on Princess and I am going to go on HAL instead". 

 

That's not really a fair statement considering a Bass Strait ferry service has no choice but to dock in Victoria, there are no other options.. 

 

I'm not too sure how the Victorian ports are structured but I was under the impression that Station Pier is owned by Vic ports/Vic Gov, and Geelong Port is privately owned? (with Vic ports overseeing vessel movements and such)... I could well be wrong... 

 

My initial comment was just pointing out how the TT-Line was basically forced away from Station-Pier by an unreasonable lease and price increase... The Tas Gov labeled it as 'price gouging', and it was said at the time the price increase was near on double, but I don't think the actual figures were ever released... At the end of the day it seemed reasonable to me that Victoria would prefer to use the Station-Pier prime position for cruise ships rather than commuters traveling on what's basically a National-Hwy... Geelong is no further away from Tassie, and being away from the city it's better suited than Station-Pier IMO, the only downside is that Tasmania doesn't have these huge billboards (ships) advertising Tasmania sitting at the end of the beach anymore, lol... 

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11 hours ago, fixi said:

But the Port of Geelong is still under the Victorian Port Authority (Or "Ports Victoria") - it's the same state and same  government body. That's like saying "I hate Carnival. I am going to stop going on Princess and I am going to go on HAL instead". 

 

As other's have pointed out, there is clearly something else going on because the timelines are complete hogwash. For someone who had 'no warning' about this $3-4 increase per passenger, they sure acted quickly by cancelling Cunard Melbourne homeports for 23-24 way back in 2022, and then selling 2025/26 Princess Australia itineraries which exclude Melbourne two weeks before the changes were actually announced. Comparative to their income, where the price of a 5 day cruise on princess in 2023 is now the price of a 4 day cruise in 2025 (a 20% increase) this is a drop in the ocean.

 

Let's not forget that this is the same marketing people who sold us "The new and more expensive plus and premiere packages are better because we took away what is included from the basic fare".

 

Putting actual numbers into this. The site occupation fee per passenger is going up to $32.78AUD before GST and $36.06 after GST in Melbourne. Oh this was too expensive and let's go to Sydney. Well the Site occupation charge for passenger vessels at OPT and White bay cruise terminal is $36.64 before GST or $40.30 after GST. So...yeah that's a lot of savings for carnival...??? However it is probably cheaper at Brisbane as they try to court some business (price for cruise ships at BICT is listed as POA so I can't say for certain). 

 

Odds are, they tried to strongarm Ports Victoria into a sweetheart deal (probably threatening to go to Brisbane, and citing Brisbane's willingness to do non transparent POA deals for cruise ships) and the port authorities didn't fold. So they acted (as they are entitled to) and here we are. We will see how successful they are at filling their ships, given that Melbourne is still the second most populous city in Australia (and this is probably the hand that Ports Victoria tried to play) and they are just moving into an already crowded market. Meanwhile, I sincerely hope you enjoy your extra ships! Have another drink for us poor Melburnians stuck in the power plays 😛 

Indeed, and it is the passenger that pays for those per head taxes anyway, not out of the cruise line pocket. It is a tax, and any increase is also passed on to your onboard folio - we have had that happen for an existing booking back when the NSW passenger tax was hatched.

 

It is also possible that they aren't getting enough yield on their fares, and that has been showing by having shorter seasons that were announced well over a year ago. Virgin has also cut this summer in half, heading for Sydney for some itineraries in an attempt to fill some cabins, so it isn't just a Carnival thing. In the end Carnival is pulling short seasons on Princess and Cunard, but they are putting in Pacific Explorer as a consolation. 2nd prize, yes, but that isn't Carnival abandoning Melbourne. Adelaide also loses from the cruises looping through SA from Melbourne.

 

Looking a bit broader, Melbourne is our #3 cruise port. This is based on established numbers. The #2 port in Brisbane is struggling to fill their traditional P&O ship, of which one has been based there full-time for 18 years. Royal Caribbean is struggling to fill Quantum, and has shortened their seasons there. Carnival is supposed to have a year-round ship, yet is working hard just to fill Luminosa over the summer. Princess has decided to split upcoming seasons with Melbourne.

 

As for Sydney, those deserters are not going there. Royal drops a ship next season, as does Princess. Carnival isn't about to replace Splendor with a newer ship, and Cunard is only going to be visiting on world voyages. Now that all the covid cancellation credits have been used-up, things are quiet all over, and it has to be tough to grow a tourism sector that was smashed in the media and pretty much blamed for covid.

 

In the end, they just see Melbourne as too hard. The Station Pier facilities need a significant upgrade, yet this tax increase is justified only on maintenance spending. Turnaround days are longer in Melbourne, and it must be a logistic nightmare to provision ships there. If these extra taxes were going to make for a better turnaround day for Carnival, I am sure they would be more supportive of it. That opens the door for Royal or NCL to base a ship there, but the silence is deafening. I feel for Melbourne & Adelaide, but not as much as what isn't happening in Fremantle.

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20 hours ago, possum52 said:

The flight from Melbourne is roughly 90 minutes and costs vary from $129 to over $300 one way.

Crikey!  I pay around that for a car to take me to the airport/port.  There's now a train and bus but, as anyone who's seen my various posts may remember, I struggle to get my luggage below 2 cases and carry on (absolutely my own choice) so public transport is not exactly an option, nor is a shared ride like Con-x-ion.  In addition, we're usually on a very early morning flight needing to be at the airport before the buses/trains start running.  When going east for a cruise we normally drive to the airport and leave our car in the 'long term' parking area - $99 for 30 days, can't go past that.  

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16 hours ago, Flickit said:

I'm not too sure how the Victorian ports are structured but I was under the impression that Station Pier is owned by Vic ports/Vic Gov, and Geelong Port is privately owned? (with Vic ports overseeing vessel movements and such)... I could well be wrong... 


Where the spirit docks in Corio  that is privately run which i think tt-line lease  and they have sole use and  doesnt cater for cruise ships .   vic ports  run  the shipping channels  only in  Geelong.   

Station Pier is Owned by vic ports/gov      

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10 minutes ago, Bubbeh said:

Crikey!  I pay around that for a car to take me to the airport/port.  There's now a train and bus but, as anyone who's seen my various posts may remember, I struggle to get my luggage below 2 cases and carry on (absolutely my own choice) so public transport is not exactly an option, nor is a shared ride like Con-x-ion.  In addition, we're usually on a very early morning flight needing to be at the airport before the buses/trains start running.  When going east for a cruise we normally drive to the airport and leave our car in the 'long term' parking area - $99 for 30 days, can't go past that.  

Your airport parking is much cheaper than ours. I think it is about $12 a day. I know we last paid $120 for 10 days in the long term carpark. We have taken other transport to the airport, but other than hiring someone to drive you, it is too much hassle from outer bayside suburbs particularly as we age.

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3 hours ago, arxcards said:

 

Looking a bit broader, Melbourne is our #3 cruise port. This is based on established numbers. The #2 port in Brisbane is struggling to fill their traditional P&O ship, of which one has been based there full-time for 18 years. Royal Caribbean is struggling to fill Quantum, and has shortened their seasons there. Carnival is supposed to have a year-round ship, yet is working hard just to fill Luminosa over the summer. Princess has decided to split upcoming seasons with Melbourne.

 

 

How do you know this? Is your supporting evidence in the public domain or do you have insider information?

I only ever hear in the news that Australians per capita are one of the best cruisers in the world.

RCL ships are way too big, its no wonder they don't fill up.

 

All these articles/clips about Station Pier charging too much are then just confected outrage by the cruises lines who are really abandoning ports for other unstated reasons and looking to lay the blame elsewhere?

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21 hours ago, 2022cruisey said:

I am really disappointed.  I’m going on my second cruise from Melbourne soon.  I’ve cruised from Brisbane and Sydney before and will be sailing from Freo next year.  It is so easy for me to catch a tram to the dock here, rather than pay for airfares and accommodation in the other cities.  Melbourne is definitely not alone in putting the port fees up and it is an absolute furphy that they haven’t been given enough notice.  Carnival is entitled to make their decisions for commercial reasons but latching onto this excuse when it is more expensive elsewhere is marketing spin.  Unfortunately we have media that doesn’t check facts anymore.

Well said. Couldn't agree more. Certain 'media' specialise in trying to bring down the reputation of their own city.

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5 hours ago, arxcards said:

it must be a logistic nightmare to provision ships there.

 

Curious as to why you think this is the case?

 

I'd rather drive to Port Melbourne than the centre of Sydney city to deliver provisions.

 

Vehicles can drive right onto the pier and stop outside the terminal building in Melbourne. That's how I arrive - get dropped off with my luggage at the terminal by a cab. They'd have a specific area for processing goods there.

 

Interested to know why you think this is the case.

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6 hours ago, Yaya_in_Oz said:

How do you know this? Is your supporting evidence in the public domain or do you have insider information?

I only ever hear in the news that Australians per capita are one of the best cruisers in the world.

RCL ships are way too big, its no wonder they don't fill up.

 

All these articles/clips about Station Pier charging too much are then just confected outrage by the cruises lines who are really abandoning ports for other unstated reasons and looking to lay the blame elsewhere?

I read, considerably. I have connections which helps to know where to read, but there is no insider information. Newspaper stories are inspired by social media stories these days, so largely bottom feeders. This story has been evolving over the past 12 months, and lamented on this forum, but not investigated by the newspapers until it dropped in their lap.

 

We have been among the best cruisers in the world, but it will be interesting to see how post-covid data stacks up. Local passenger numbers are flat, and sliding. Royal's ships are indeed big, but they filled Ovation much more easily prior to covid.

 

I also read between the lines.

 

If Melbourne was a cash cow for Carnival, would any of this be happening? If Melbourne authorities are being excessively difficult to deal with, that makes it a much easier decision to make, and that is the tipping point for them in these stories, not the cause. 

Carnival was selling full summer seasons for Princess pre-covid and 23/24. This changes to spitting a season with Brisbane in 24/25, then no Princess ship in 25/26. Not as clear-cut for Queen Elizabeth, but heading down the same path. But why is Pacific Explorer going to homeport there instead? Surely if they are so indignant about those increased charges, they would be removing all of their ships.

 

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8 hours ago, Bubbeh said:

  When going east for a cruise we normally drive to the airport and leave our car in the 'long term' parking area - $99 for 30 days, can't go past that.  

I am often amazed by some people  - if we can afford to cruise , as an example, we don't really need to worry about the idea that we can get a better exchange rate for the AUD in New Guinea ports than we can get here in OZ.  🙂 Of course if we are planning on spending $5K AUD then perhaps it is relevant - but $100 AUD???? I tell people that I spill more beer than that in any day 🙂 I cant really believe how tight some people are 😞 - and I don't want to hear from any cruisers here about how "some people" are not very well off .

 

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I am surprised that Cunard have lasted here in Oz as long as they have. We have done 10 cruises with Cunard (only 2 of which were from Aussie ports) - and I have always thought that Cunard is not a good mix with the Aussie demographic.  They thought it would be easy and profitable  pickings here because we are very keen to try new things - but Covid came along and things changed. They are obviously now returning to their more traditional base. 

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22 minutes ago, arxcards said:

I read, considerably. I have connections which helps to know where to read, but there is no insider information. Newspaper stories are inspired by social media stories these days, so largely bottom feeders. This story has been evolving over the past 12 months, and lamented on this forum, but not investigated by the newspapers until it dropped in their lap.

 

We have been among the best cruisers in the world, but it will be interesting to see how post-covid data stacks up. Local passenger numbers are flat, and sliding. Royal's ships are indeed big, but they filled Ovation much more easily prior to covid.

 

I also read between the lines.

 

If Melbourne was a cash cow for Carnival, would any of this be happening? If Melbourne authorities are being excessively difficult to deal with, that makes it a much easier decision to make, and that is the tipping point for them in these stories, not the cause. 

Carnival was selling full summer seasons for Princess pre-covid and 23/24. This changes to spitting a season with Brisbane in 24/25, then no Princess ship in 25/26. Not as clear-cut for Queen Elizabeth, but heading down the same path. But why is Pacific Explorer going to homeport there instead? Surely if they are so indignant about those increased charges, they would be removing all of their ships.

 

I doubt if any Australian port could be called a 'cash cow' for Carnival or any cruise line. Surely that's only the Caribbean short cruises the Americans seem to do so frequently and perhaps spend up big on gambling and drinks packages. I assume that's where the profits lie - the add-ons that passengers pay for. Cruises aren't as cheap here, I believe, and so we're probably less inclined to take 10 cruises a year and drop lots of $$$$ on board as extras.

 

I think covid and the financial stress on the cruise lines has prompted a big re-think about what's easiest for them. Sydney has a higher international profile than Melbourne, with its iconic attractions (Opera house; bridge; attractive harbour) and is therefore of more interest to US visitors. That's the market they're interested in - all 330+ million of them. We are small fry.

 

And when an enormous company operating in most countries of the world says a government is being excessively difficult to deal with I assume the government in question wouldn't bend over backwards to give them a special deal or whatever special arrangements they're asking for. I'd be taking their public complaints with a grain of salt. 

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6 hours ago, LittleFish1976 said:

 

Curious as to why you think this is the case?

 

I'd rather drive to Port Melbourne than the centre of Sydney city to deliver provisions.

 

Vehicles can drive right onto the pier and stop outside the terminal building in Melbourne. That's how I arrive - get dropped off with my luggage at the terminal by a cab. They'd have a specific area for processing goods there.

 

Interested to know why you think this is the case.

Physically, it is a finger wharf which restricts the amount of space, supplies, number of forklifts, size of trucks etc. They do have specific areas, which are adequate for smaller ships, but a bottleneck for provisioning larger ships. OPT has enough congestion of semis, but they unload through the night into storage areas.

 

Passenger wise, not a problem. I have enjoyed embarking in Melbourne, but that isn't the issue.

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25 minutes ago, LittleFish1976 said:

I doubt if any Australian port could be called a 'cash cow' for Carnival or any cruise line. Surely that's only the Caribbean short cruises the Americans seem to do so frequently and perhaps spend up big on gambling and drinks packages. I assume that's where the profits lie - the add-ons that passengers pay for. Cruises aren't as cheap here, I believe, and so we're probably less inclined to take 10 cruises a year and drop lots of $$$$ on board as extras.

 

I think covid and the financial stress on the cruise lines has prompted a big re-think about what's easiest for them. Sydney has a higher international profile than Melbourne, with its iconic attractions (Opera house; bridge; attractive harbour) and is therefore of more interest to US visitors. That's the market they're interested in - all 330+ million of them. We are small fry.

 

And when an enormous company operating in most countries of the world says a government is being excessively difficult to deal with I assume the government in question wouldn't bend over backwards to give them a special deal or whatever special arrangements they're asking for. I'd be taking their public complaints with a grain of salt. 

If they were having profitable seasons in Melbourne, they would continue to place ships there regardless of any disagreement with the ports and government. Yes, Sydney has attraction of international passengers, which is part of the issue with basing an international ship in Melbourne. However, it would be business suicide to leave Melbourne over a dummy spit, as a competitor would waltz right in. Where are those competitors hiding? They are leaving because the ship owners/financiers and Carnival shareholders want a return on their money.

 

It is more than Melbourne though. Cunard won't be in Sydney either, and Princess takes away a ship there from next season too. Based on that, Sydney has lost a similar number of Princess departures to what Melbourne has.

 

Harder to attract international passengers? Lets put a local ship into Melbourne.

Harder to fill the cabins of large ships? Lets put a smaller ship into Melbourne.

Difficult to provision a large ship efficiently? Lets put a smaller ship into Melbourne.

 

Regardless of what the article is saying, Carnival hasn't abandoned Melbourne, but have decided to put the eggs in a Pacific Explorer basket. Future port bookings are saying the same for 26/27 .... only as long as they can make a profit.

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Todays Cruise weekly had 2 articles on Melbourne. 

 

Australia a “difficult” cruise market Australia is becoming a more difficult market to cruise from, Carnival Corporation Chief Strategy Officer Teresa Lloyd has revealed, stoking fears regarding the lackadaisical decisions recently made by state governments around the country. Lloyd, addressing the media earlier this week in the wake of the cessation of Carnival Corp’s Melbourne voyages of two of its cruise lines (see page 1), said the company is considering “all deployment everywhere” as margins become thinner around the industry. “Australia and this region is becoming more difficult since the restart,” she conceded. “Fuel is very expensive in this part of the world, the distances we have to travel to go to different ports is a long way, we have issues that compound operating in this region.” Carnival has asked for a meeting to fully brief ministers on the significance of the rate hikes, Lloyd said, and to explain what they mean, and what the impact is, indicating the company is not turning its back on Victoria. “We’re confident we’ll have a meeting with the minister soon, and we really look forward to having that discussion,” she said. “It’s too late for 25/26, but for the future, we want to bring the ships back.” Melbourne’s loss is the gain of other cruise destinations around Australia, Lloyd confirmed, with the company set to redeploy some of the lost voyages to Sydney and Brisbane, where it is less expensive to call. Cruise lines were first informed of the magnitude of the rate increase, which will apply from next year, a number of months ago, but only received formal confirmation last week. “A much more moderate increase would have been something that could have been accommodated, but this increase and the prospect of further significant increases is really what’s triggered this decision,” Lloyd said. She ominously added although Carnival Corp hopes it will reach a decision with the Victorian stakeholders soon, other cruise lines within the company are considering their own decisions for the coming seasons. The revelation is the latest wake-up call to just how precarious deployment prospects are in Australia - a roller coaster the industry rode back in May, when the Government of NSW ruled out the construction of a cruise ship terminal in Yarra Bay, without presenting an alternative option (CW 29 May).

Cruise weekly 01Dec2023

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On 11/30/2023 at 6:42 AM, MicCanberra said:

Good specials for Virgin, doesn't necessarily mean a cheap cruise though.

No it is not cheap but looks good value to me.  50% off in January school holidays is a good start.    I'll know more after my first cruise in January.  So far. I'm very impressed. with the on line staff.  

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19 hours ago, arxcards said:

I read, considerably. I have connections which helps to know where to read, but there is no insider information. Newspaper stories are inspired by social media stories these days, so largely bottom feeders. This story has been evolving over the past 12 months, and lamented on this forum, but not investigated by the newspapers until it dropped in their lap.

 

We have been among the best cruisers in the world, but it will be interesting to see how post-covid data stacks up. Local passenger numbers are flat, and sliding. Royal's ships are indeed big, but they filled Ovation much more easily prior to covid.

 

I also read between the lines.

 

Thanks for the info. Its more complex that it first appears. I also read considerably but newspaper subs and feeds, rarely social media. I mainly watch ABC and SBS and cruise ships are rarely mentioned in those forums.

 

I did recently book an extra cruise on Princess while its here, to Tassie. I was going to take the car but thought I'd get lost from where I live now Spirit leaves from Corio.

I also booked on Pacific Explorer for Jan '25 but I don't really like the way P and O do business. They charged me exactly double for single which I think is outrageous. When I look at the invoice, I'm actually being charged more than double as they only list one lot of port fees so the room rate is higher than double a twin. They did tell me I could add another person to the booking for no charge. My younger close family members aren't really interested in cruising and when I travel with a friend we have our own rooms. Its not about money, I don't like being ripped off. If they charged double, less the port fees I'd think that was OK. It is what it is so we'll see how it goes. They have given me a midship balcony that is for 2 people only so thats really good but for a small ship they can pack them in with all those triple and quad berths.

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