Ovation of the Seas: Countdown begins for arrival of Australia's biggest ever cruise ship

The countdown has begun till the arrival of the biggest ever cruise ship to be based in Australia – Royal Caribbean's Ovation of the seas.

The US$1 billion ($A1.3 billion) ship is due to arrive in Australia in about 12 months (in 355 days) on 6 December 2016 at Fremantle, Western Australia. Its arrival will also mark the first ever new-build megaliner to sail Australian waters. 

The billion-dollar mega-liner will be the length of more than three football fields (348-metre long) and tower at 50 metres tall. It is the third ship in the cruise liner's Quantum Class category, which includes Quantum of the Seas and Anthem of the Seas, and will house over 18 decks and have a capacity to hold almost 5000 guests and 1500 crew. 

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Currently the biggest ship to arrive on Australian shores is Explorer of the Seas, a 3800-guest, 138,000-tonne ship, which arrived in November.  Before that it was Voyager of the Seas is the current title holder for largest ship to be based in Australia.

Ovation of the Seas will be based at Sydney's Overseas Passenger Terminal in Circular Quay for its maiden 2016/17 Australian summer season.  The ship will visit ports around Australia and New Zealand, and also the Pacific during its Australian summer season. 

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The ship's design is said to "completely redefine" the experience of cruising in Australia with features and technologies described as first-time offerings for ships worldwide. These include:

  • The Ripcord by iFLY – a thrill-seeking simulator that allows passengers to experience skydiving on a cruise ship. 
  • The North Star aerial observatory which lifts passengers inside a capsule  more than 90 metres above the sea or ""as high as the Sydney Harbour Bridge" 
  • The Bionic Bar  - a futuristic themed bar operated  without any human assistance. Here two robots will mix and shake cocktails for guess to order
  • Dynamic Dining – a food hall style of concepts where guests will get to choose from 18 restaurants, including Jamie Oliver's Jamie's Italian, Michael's Genuine Pub, the enchanting Wonderland and Royal Caribbean favourites including Chops Grille steakhouse and Izumi Japanese.
  • SeaPlex - the largest indoor sports and entertainment complex at sea which will feature bumper cars and a circus school.

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China will be Ovation of the Seas' first home port after its launch. It will be based in Shanghai from May 2016 before it sails to Sydney.

The mega-liner will be the fifth ship in Royal Caribbean's Australian fleet for the 2016/17 summer joining Voyager of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas in Sydney, and Legend of the Seas in Brisbane.

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The decision to name Australia as Ovation of the Seas' first home port represents the continuing growth of cruising in the domestic market. Australian cruising has had a record-breaking run over the past few years, reaching its target of one million local cruise passengers six years ahead of target to become the world's fastest-growing passenger market.

More than one million Australians (4.2 per cent of the national population) took a cruise holiday in 2014, which represents the world's largest share per population, according to the latest industry report released in March.

Over the 2014-15 summer cruising season there were more than 600 ship visits by 36 ships to ports around the country.

Ovation of the Seas' fares will start from $199 a day. For more information visit www.ovationoftheseas.com.au

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