Celebrity mega-liners bring tourism boost to Cairns region
THE arrival of two of the world's biggest and most luxurious cruise ships, Celebrity Millennium and Celebrity Solstice, in the Far North over the next two weeks is expected to pour $1 million into the economy.The Millennium, with up to 2150 passengers and 1000 crew on board, is scheduled to moor off Yorkeys Knob on Wednesday, at 10am, departing the following day at 3pm, while the Solstice, with more than 2800 passengers and 1200 crew, is due at 8am on December 4, leaving at 10pm on the same day.
Both are on their maiden voyages to the Coral Sea and are too large to sail up Trinity Inlet and dock at Cairns.
The two ships are the latest sign of the growing strength of cruising Down Under.
The 110,000-tonne Solstice, which at 317m long covers the length of three city blocks, will be the largest to have been based in Australia for the 2012 cruising season.
The 16-storey ship has penthouse suites complete with baby grand pianos, 10 restaurants, a martini bar and a real grass lawn to play bocce and lawn bowls on the top deck.
It was built three years ago in Germany at a cost of $750 million, also making it one of the newest luxury superliners in the world.
This is the first time a Solstice ship has been taken out of the Caribbean and Europe. The Millennium returns to Australia for the first time since 2009 with new interiors and features after a major multimillion-dollar renovation in the Bahamas in May this year.
The transformation took only three weeks to complete and is the fourth and final Millennium Class ship to complete the cruise line's $140 million "Solsticizing"process, a renovation program that takes the best features of Celebrity's new Solstice Class and retrofits them to the Millennium Class.
Celebrity Cruises Australia Adam Armstrong said Celebrity Cruises was bringing for the first time two of its most luxurious ships sailing Down Under, with design features and amenities that guests have never seen before in local waters.
"As a result of this multimillion-dollar revitalisation, guests on both ships can now enjoy our unique AquaClass suites for a spa holiday at sea," he said.
"These ships continue to raise the bar for cruising Down Under with their elegant and modern design, innovative amenities such as iPad menus, a real manicured top deck lawn and an ice-topped martini bar."
Royal Caribbean Australia managing director Gavin Smith said Solstice would circumnavigate Australia as well as travelling to New Zealand and the South Pacific and up the east coast to Queensland.
Solstice is one of the 20 biggest cruise ships in the world. The world's two biggest cruise ships, Allure of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas, are about 200,000 tonnes, while the Queen Mary 2, which visited Yorkeys Knob in February, is about 137,000 tonnes.
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Majestic sight: The Celebrity Solstice will be the largest ship to have been based in Australia during the entire 2012 cruising season. It will visit the Far North in the next two weeks.