Classic International Cruises has confirmed its tenth annual season in Australia for 2013-14 by announcing its first ever line voyage from England to Australia in September, 2013, with new combo fares also introduced to enable Australians to cruise from Australia to England and back for a European summer holiday next year.

The new cruise - a 44-night traditional line voyage aboard the classic-styled Athena from Tilbury in England on September 29, 2013, to Perth – will provide the earliest start ever for a summer season in Australia for Classic International Cruises and will be the line’s first-ever voyage to Australia from England rather than Italy or France.

The early line voyage to Australia and the departure from the UK means Australian cruise fans who dislike flying- or winter - can sail from Perth on April 15, 2013, to England aboard Athena via the Suez Canal at the end of her 2012/13 season in Australia and after arriving in the UK on May 25, 2013, spend the summer in England or Europe sightseeing or staying with friends and relatives before sailing on September 29, 2013, back to Perth, via South Africa, arriving on November 12, 2013, in time for an Aussie summer!

And unlike tightening airline luggage rules, passengers on the two line voyages can also bring three bags each instead of two, ensuring lots of space for gifts and souvenirs.

And to enable more Australians to experience the traditional, pre-jet age, no-flying option to the UK and back, Classic International Cruise is offering a minimum $1860 per person discount to passengers who combine the two line voyages from Perth to England and back in 2013, with the 40-night northbound voyage next April and the 44-night southbound voyage in September, 2013, available from $10,995 per person, instead of $12,855. The combo fare includes a total of 84 nights aboard Athena as well as all onboard meals and entertainment.

Classic International Cruises Managing Director Grant Hunter said that Athena’s earlier-than-normal Australian season in WA in 2013-14 would include an 18-day annual maintenance drydock for Athena in Asia in November, 2013, with full details of the ship’s 2013-14 Australian program to be released later this year.

“We’re very excited Athena will be back in Australia in 2013-14 for our tenth annual summer season here and I’m sure many Australians will be excited at the opportunity to sail from Perth to England and back next year for a summer in Europe,” Mr Hunter said. “Our loyal passengers love being at sea on a real ocean liner and our voyages between Australia and Europe are always popular so we’re expecting strong demand for our new no-flight option to England can back next year.”

Destinations on Athena’s voyage from Perth on April 15, 2013, to England include Sri Lanka, Oman, United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Malta, Italy, Morocco and Athena’s home country of Portugal. Her return to Australia from England on September 29, 2013, will see her visit France, Spain, Portugal, the Atlantic islands of St Vincent, Ascension and St Helena, South Africa, Reunion Island and Mauritius.

Carrying only 580 passengers, the 16,000-ton Athena features traditional wooden deck chairs, pool, fitness centre, five bars and lounges, casino, library, cinema and two restaurants. Athena has 277 spacious cabins and each boasts a bath – a luxury only found in suites on the latest superliners.