Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. announced today it will establish a dedicated Australian office. The new office, to be located in Sydney, will support the commercial and operational efforts in Australia for three of the company's cruise brands: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises.

The opening of Royal Caribbean's Australian office is strategically timed. Since 2002, the number of Australians who took a cruise holiday has more than doubled and, according to the International Cruise Council of Australasia, this number is predicted to grow even further. Royal Caribbean's range of cruise offerings is perfectly placed to take advantage of Australia's increasing interest in cruising.

The new Australian office will build on Royal Caribbean's success and expertise in the North American and European markets. The Australia office will continue the company's international expansion plans and support the growing demand for itineraries in the South Pacific and around the world.

"This region shows great growth potential in terms of providing new destinations for international cruise guests from North America, Europe and Asia, giving them exceptional port options that explore the beauty and uniqueness of Australia," said Michael Bayley, senior vice president of international for Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. "This, coupled with the knowledge that Australia is a substantial source market for new cruise guests, gives us tremendous opportunity for growth in the region."

Discover the World Marketing has successfully served as the international representative of Royal Caribbean's business in Australia for the past 17 years. "Discover the World Marketing's excellent team, has done an outstanding job developing our business in Australia," Bailey added. "We look forward to Discover the World Marketing continuing to represent us in Guatemala, Colombia, Thailand and Pakistan."

"We've really enjoyed introducing Australians to three of Royal Caribbean's unique brands," said Richard Cranmer, managing director of Discover the World Marketing's subagent in Australia. "We have developed a team that really understands and is passionate about the brands, and that enjoys offering Australian guests a unique and award-winning cruise experience."

Next year, Rhapsody of the Seas will embark on its third season in the South Pacific and Australia. Rhapsody of the Seas will sail in Australia from September 2009 through April 2010, offering 17 voyages to Hawaii, the South Pacific islands and New Zealand. Itineraries range from eight to 18 nights, visiting a total of 39 ports in six countries. The ship carries 1,998 guests (double occupancy), and could host approximately 34,000 guests (double occupancy) during the 2009-2010 season, many of whom will come from the U.S., Asia and Europe.

Guests on Australian and New Zealand voyages will also have the opportunity to see more of those countries by purchasing a pre- or post-sailing "cruisetour," to destinations including Great Barrier Reef, Uluru, Milford Sound, Queenstown, and Rotorua in New Zealand.