Princess Cruises has announced it will base a record five ships in Australia next year, with the 2,600-guest Golden Princess debuting down under as the biggest ship ever to homeport in Melbourne.

Golden Princess’ maiden summer deployment, which will increase Princess Cruises’ capacity in the Victorian capital by more than 20 percent, is a highlight of the cruise line’s new Golden Anniversary 2015-16 program which reaffirms the cruise line’s leadership in the Australian market.

Released today, the program also features Princess Cruises’ first summer season of cruises from Fremantle, doubling the cruise line’s Western Australian offering to give the State its first year-round cruise program, as well as Princess Cruises’ biggest ever presence in Brisbane, with Queenslanders set to enjoy nine months of sailings in 2015-16.

As part of the record five-ship program, the 108,000-ton Golden Princess will join the 116,000-ton Diamond Princess in Australian waters for the 2015-16 summer, while the 77,000-ton Sun Princess will remain in Australia next winter, joining sister ships Dawn and Sea Princess in providing cruises year round.

Launching the program, Princess Cruises Vice President Australia & New Zealand Stuart Allison said the record fleet would increase the cruise line’s local capacity by 35 percent in 2015 compared to 2014. 

The move further consolidates Princess Cruises’ position as Australia’s biggest cruise line with Australians now spending more nights onboard Princess Cruises’ ships than on any other line.

With five of its 18-strong fleet cruising down under, Princess Cruises ranks Australia as its biggest market outside the United States.

For the first time, all ships will offer $AUD pricing onboard as they deliver a program of more than 80 cruises from Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Fremantle and Auckland.   

Allison said Golden Princess would be making her maiden visit to Australia when she arrived in Sydney in October 2015 before moving to Melbourne to become the biggest cruise ship ever to be based outside Sydney. Her five-month season will include holidays to New Zealand, the South Pacific and Tasmania, with fares starting from $1,849pp for a 13-night New Zealand cruise.

The program also cements Diamond Princess’ position as the cruise line’s flagship in Sydney, with the stunning superliner offering a record 11 roundtrip itineraries from the city over the 2015-16 summer. Fares will start from $1,799pp for a 13-night Fiji & South Pacific cruise.

Meanwhile Fremantle will enjoy its first ever summer of premium cruises, with Sun Princess sailing on a program of 11 cruises to and from Western Australia between October 2015 and March 2016, including the return of the cruise line’s popular 46-night itinerary to India and South Africa, priced from $8,839pp . This means Princess will now offer year round cruising from both the east and west coasts.

Brisbane will experience its biggest year of Princess Cruises’ offerings, with Sun Princess sailing from the city from August to November 2015 and Sea Princess offering cruises from November 2015 to April 2016.  Both ships will sail on a range of cruises to Papua New Guinea, the South Pacific, Queensland and New Zealand with fares starting from $1,119pp for a seven-night Queensland cruise.