You were up early yesterday for a surf before the crowds arrived. You spent today exploring Melbourne’s laneways, sampling single origin coffee, maybe trying a cronut or two. Dinner is a three course meal with a good Australian shiraz. You’ll be heading to the vineyards of the Barossa next week so this is good research. Then there’s the adrenalin-inducing encounter with a crocodile a few days after. All this and you won’t have stepped foot in an airport or spent hours on a bus.
As more and more Aussies hop aboard cruise ships, the local cruise industry is booming. And that means the ships are bigger, the adventures are more exciting and the local flavours are stronger. Here’s what new in cruising down under.
One of the biggest cruise ships to be based in Australia is the Voyager of the Seas. The first of Royal Caribbean’s larger ships to arrive down under is back this season by popular demand – after a multi million dollar refurbishment. It is now home to the FlowRider, a surf simulator that allows you to hop on a boogie board or a surf board and give surfing a go without having to worry about sand, other surfers or rogue waves. The FlowRider is popular with little kids, big kids, retirees, anyone and everyone! The Voyager now also has inside cabins with virtual reality windows – so you can check out the weather even if you don’t have a balcony. Also part of the revitalisation was the arrival of Giovanni’s Table, Izumi Japanese Cuisine, the Chop’s Grille Steakhouse and a 3D Theatre.
Home grown drops
With several more local itineraries on the schedules, Princess Cruises has just added a few more Australian wines to their onboard cellars. Along with more New Zealand lamb, BBQs, pavlovas and fresh salads, the shift to Australian taste buds is good news. You’ll still find plenty of chocolate cookies and Caesar salads in the restaurants and French champagne or a Napa Valley red on the wine list, but the introduction of local food and alcohol is good for Aussies who want their creature comforts at sea. More than 20 new additions include Verdelho from Hope Estate in the Hunter Valley, four new wines from the Margaret River, several Rieslings, chardonnays and sav blancs, along with a few shirazes from the McClaren Vale and the Adelaide Hills.