Cruising is a polarising form of travel -- people either absolutely love it, or can't stand the idea of being 'stuck' on a ship for days on end. But things are changing in the Australian cruise industry.
More than one million Australians took a cruise holiday in 2014, with statistics showing that we are the world’s fastest growing source of cruise passengers.
The equivalent of 4.2 percent of Aussies took a cruise last year -- significantly ahead of the well-established North American market, which ranked second. A cool million can't be wrong, right?
It's timely then, that cruising juggernaut P&O announced the plans to build a new ship specifically for Australian waters, and Australian people. It will be the first of its kind.
Launching in 2019, the 135,500-tonne ship would be the biggest cruise ship ever to be based full time in Australia, carrying more than 4200 guests, with 2100 guest rooms.
"As the only homegrown Australian cruise brand, P&O Cruises has been driving growth, and demand for our cruises continues to surge year on year," P&O Cruises President Sture Myrmell told The Huffington Post Australia.
"To meet demand, in 2015 we signalled the evolution of our fleet with the addition of two ships. Next year we’ll be adding a sixth ship to our fleet, Pacific Explorer, and in 2019 we’ll go one step further with the debut of our new build. Creating a new ship specifically for Australia will take local cruising to a whole new level. It’s a massive vote of confidence in the local cruise market and it will be an absolute game changer," Sture said.
Probed on exactly what a ship built specifically for Aussie's might look and feel like, Sture revealed that it will encapsulate the laidback Aussie spirit.
"Australians love contemporary design, great food and stylish décor, but we’re also relaxed and we’re a bit cheeky with our humour -- we’ll be bringing all those elements to play in our new ship."
"Everything is on the drawing board -- we’ll have more announcements to make in due course. Great food is part of a great holiday, and that will be reflected on board our new ship," Sture said.
With routes still to be determined, Sture revealed the company's plan to dock the ship in Sydney.
"We will be announcing itineraries at a later stage, but our plan is to base the ship in Sydney, cruising on a range of itineraries between three to 10 nights’ duration."
The current fleet of P&O cruise ships.