Golden Princess largest cruise ship to be based in Melbourne

Cruising in Australia is about to get a lot more exciting with Princess Cruises' plan to deploy Golden Princess to Victoria's capital. It will be the biggest cruise ship ever to be based in the city.

The 2600-guest, 290-metre ship is set to arrive next year for its maiden Australian season, which will run from October 2015 to March 2016.

Princess Cruises Vice President Australia & New Zealand, Stuart Allison said basing Golden Princess in Melbourne catered to growing demand for cruise holidays and represents a 23 per cent increase in the cruise liner's capacity in the state.

"We have been cruising out of Melbourne since 2008, so we think it makes good sense to build on Victorians' demand for cruising and expand our Melbourne offering," Allison said.

"In Sydney we already have the 2700-guest Diamond Princess sailing from the Harbour city over the summer months."

While it may the biggest cruise ship to hit Melbourne and the only one to be based there over the summer months, Royal Caribbean International's Explorer of the Seas remains the biggest ship to be ever based in the country. The 3800-guest, 138,000-tonne Explorer of the Seas will arrive in November 2015 for its maiden season in the region.

Golden Princess passengers can expect four swimming pools, a large spa, and 10 restaurants and cafes. The ship's key feature is the Skywalker Nightclub, which is suspended at the rear of the ship, and can be reached by a moving walkway above the decks.

Other features include Sabatini's and Crown Grill restaurants and 1318 staterooms, with more than half offering private balconies.

The ship's maiden Australian deployment coincides with the cruise line's Golden Anniversary 2015-16 program which will see a record five Princess Cruises' ship in Australia next year and doubling of its presence in Western Australia.

Golden Princess' five-month season in the region would include 15 round trip cruises to New Zealand, the South Pacific and Tasmania.