When it comes to contemporary leisure cruising Western Australia hasn’t exactly been on the radars of the world’s leading lines. Until now, Down Under itineraries have shone the spotlight on destinations such as tropical Cairns, the idyllic Whitsundays, the bright lights of Sydney and the dramatic Mornington Peninsula. But this year things are about to be shaken up!
Diamond Princess sets her sights on Australia’s South West
In 2015, the 116,000-tonne Diamond Princess will make history as the first cruise ship to call at the West Australian city of Busselton. The itinerary is part of the ship’s 28 day Australia circumnavigation which offers passengers the chance to sign up for the entire voyage or jump aboard for smaller segments. For those with limited time or budgets the five night Great Australian Bight journey from Adelaide to Perth or the 12 night journey from Sydney to Fremantle are great alternatives. Here are some of the highlights!
- Busselton – As well as pristine beaches and a dash of country charm Busselton also boasts the Southern Hemisphere’s longest timber-piled jetty which stretches 1.8km into the bay.
- Albany – As WA’s oldest permanently settles town Albany is brimming with fascinating history. The port city was once an infamous whaling town which now pays homage to its history through the award winning Whaling Station museum. Passengers can sign up for a shore excursion and soak up panoramic views from the National ANZAC Centre in Albany Heritage Park or explore the town’s myriad of cafes, galleries, regional produce stores and local craft boutiques.
- Margaret River – Known as the ‘jewel of the South West’ Margaret River is a mecca for foodies, surf buffs and nature lovers alike. Signing up for a shore excursion will see passengers whisked away on a short drive to the region where they’ll spend the day admiring untouched beaches, visiting world famous wineries, hitting up breweries, sampling local produce (hello chocolate, olive oil and dairy delights!) Adventure lovers will jump at the chance to descent into the region’s mythical caves while a trip to nearby Cape Naturaliste lighthouse offers stunning views over Geographe Bay and the Indian Ocean.
An up-to-the-minute revamp
Adding to the excitement of the ship’s West Australian itinerary is the fact that is has just emerged from a $30 million refit which saw it decked out with an array of at-sea firsts. One of the most hyped new additions is the 817-square metre Izumi complex, an ultra-indulgent Japanese bathing house. Inside what’s pegged as the ‘largest at-sea bath on the planet’ passengers can unwind in the unisex outdoor hydrotherapy pool, heat up in the sauna, unknot muscles under the cascading waterfalls, soak up the sun on a canopied lounger or take a soak in the steamy Cypress Pool while gazing out to sea through the floor to ceiling glass windows. All while drinking in an intoxicating citrus fragrance released by a series of mist machines. Pure bliss! Another highly anticipated new addition is the Kai Sushi restaurant which sees chefs whip up a kaleidoscope of colourful sushi rolls using the freshest raw ingredients.
Want to experience the jewels of Australia’s South West for yourself? Cruise 1st is currently running fantastic deals on Diamond Princess itineraries that will take you to WA in absolute luxury. Take a look!
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Jerry Dohnal.