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Travel Royal Caribbean returns to NZ for amped-up summer of sailing

New Zealand’s most innovative cruise company returns to local waters this week with Radiance of the Seas the first ship to launch what will be yet another extraordinary season for Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara.

The highly anticipated upcoming season marks continued growth in the region, with three ships from the revolutionary Royal Caribbean International fleet set to visit in 2019/2020.

Ovation of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas return to New Zealand and the newly amplified Voyager of the Seas is welcomed back to Australia following her USD$97 million modernisation to give guests the chance to explore the best of New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific.

Local favourite Celebrity Solstice will return for her eighth season, visiting more than 30 destinations around New Zealand, Australia and the South Pacific. Azamara Journey will arrive in Gisborne on February 1, 2020, with five local open-jaw sailings to New Zealand, Australia and Asia.

"Our ships offer something for every traveller, whether they are seeking memory-making adventures with their family on Royal Caribbean or prefer a modern luxury experience on Celebrity where every meal is a destination of its own," says Mark Kinchley, regional manager for RCL in New Zealand.

"Azamara’s unique selection of sea voyages and immersive land programs will take guests further, visiting more incredible locations in 2019/2020."

With more than 250 port calls from October 5 to April 29, 2020, RCL has an incredible selection of 44 sailings on four ships during the 2019/2020 local season, contributing to the NZD$695 million cruising will add to the New Zealand economy this year.

This season, RCL Cruises also expects to take a record 120,000 kilos of fresh produce and 200,000 litres of dairy from the region on its four ships, giving guests the chance to try the country’s local flavours and contributing significantly to the New Zealand food industry.

Royal Caribbean season highlights:

As New Zealand’s most innovative and family-friendly cruise holiday company, Royal Caribbean will bring three incredible ships to the New Zealand and Australian region, including New Zealand’s largest and most technologically advanced ship, Ovation of the Seas, the newly modernised Voyager of the Seas, and Radiance of the Seas – the first ship to return to New Zealand.

Guests can choose from 44 sailings ranging from two to 19-night itineraries calling on nine different countries including Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Singapore, Indonesia, the USA and Vanuatu.

"We are ready for an amped up season full of jaw-dropping features never before seen in New Zealand to give guests more opportunities to create lifelong memories with their families," says Mark.

Radiance of the Seas arrived in Wellington on October 5 for her ninth season, featuring an expanded range of 21 South Pacific and New Zealand sailings calling to destinations including Noumea, Mystery Island and Port Vila. Radiance of the Seas highlights include a three-night Sampler, an epic 18-night Bottom End itinerary from Fremantle to Sydney as well as six getaways in Aotearoa New Zealand – the country of open spaces, open hearts and open minds.

Ovation of the Seas will return for her fourth and longest season ever on October 16, following her maiden season in Alaska. Ovation of the Seas will offer guests a range of local sailings – including five incredible New Zealand and South Pacific holidays, nine New Zealand voyages and new 18 and 19-night journeys between Sydney and Hawaii calling in Papeete, Moorea and Bora Bora in French Polynesia.

The first Royal Amplified ship in the region, Voyager of the Seas, returns fresh from a multi-million dollar makeover on November 30. Local holidaymakers can step onboard and straight into an adventure with newly added Royal Caribbean hits never seen before in the South Pacific. Voyager of the Seas will offer guests 9 to 14-night South Pacific cruises from Sydney, Australia including two repositioning cruises between Singapore and Sydney.

Celebrity Cruises season highlights:

Back by popular demand, local favourite – Celebrity Solstice – returned for her eighth season on October 7, offering extraordinary destinations, delicious dining, intuitive service, stunning design and luxurious accommodation.

"Celebrity Solstice is alive with possibilities and full of innovative marvels that create life-changing memories for guests," says Mark.

"Only on Solstice Class ships can you find a live tree hanging in the centre of the ship, half an acre of real grass and bars that are made of ice. It is no wonder she is the highest rated ship to sail our local waters."

With 20 local itineraries, Celebrity Solstice will visit some of New Zealand and Australia’s most sought-after destinations, including Wellington, Tauranga, Milford Sound, Sydney, Cairns and Melbourne. Breathtaking new destinations for the season include Eden in New South Wales, Port Vila in Vanuatu and home of the world’s largest lagoon, Mare in New Caledonia – a maiden call for Celebrity Cruises in 2019/2020.

Holidaymakers can escape to paradise with Celebrity Solstice’s popular Great Barrier Reef itinerary or enjoy three exhilarating South Pacific options, including a 13-night itinerary featuring Fiji. New Zealand guests can see all the beautiful ports in their own backyard when they embark on a culinary adventure featuring some of the world’s finest seafood while discovering a seemingly endless buffet of mesmerising sights, stunning landscapes and extreme experiences.

With more overnight stays and stays 12 hours or longer, Celebrity offers a world filled with possibilities for guests during the 2019/20 season.

Azamara season highlights:

Azamara Journey will mark the line’s fifth local season when she arrives in Gisborne on February 1, 2020, with five open-jaw sailings around New Zealand, Australia and Asia.

A boutique hotel at sea, Azamara Journey encourages travellers to explore further, with six new ports of call this season. In New Zealand, guests can experience New Plymouth’s Mount Taranaki or sail through the iconic Doubtful Sound. In the South Pacific Bora Bora’s iconic white sand beaches are calling while Moorea is a bucket list worthy destination and former retreat for Tahitian royalty. In the Cook Islands, Rarotonga is one of the most charming islands surrounded by flame-orange coral reefs. Finally, Papeete offers the very best of Tahiti with blue lagoons and lush tropical valleys.

What’s more, with the cruise line’s recent debut of more than 1700 pre- and post-voyage land programs – the largest selection in the cruise industry – guests can now dive even deeper into the heart of a destination to go beyond the reach of average tourist experience.

"Azamara’s new land programs perfectly complements our unique itineraries, taking guests beyond the world’s most beautiful ports," says Mark.

"Our voyagers can go deeper, diving into the history, culture and delights of the world’s greatest cities, countries and continents."

The AzAmazing Evening in New Zealand will be An Evening Symphony at St Paul's Cathedral in Wellington on February 12, 2020. After meeting the Orchestra Wellington musical director, Marc Taddei, in the modern cathedral, guests will enjoy performances by Orchestra Wellington, such as Tchaikovsky’s ‘Nutcracker Suite’ and Grieg’s ‘Hall of the Mountain King’, while also being entertained by iconic Maori songs such as ‘Pokarekare Ana’ and ‘Poi E’.

It is this destination immersion and commitment to connect people to people, people with cultures and people with themselves that makes Azamara unique within the industry. With a range of immersive voyages this season, holidaymakers embarking on an Azamara adventure can look forward to unleashing their adventurous spirit, exploring further and experiencing the world in a different light.

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