It's no secret that cruise travel has grown as a vacation choice worldwide. While mainstream and premium cruise lines mostly focused their marketing efforts on North America in the past, for many years luxury ships have plied waters around the globe and filled their ships by targeting international passenger markets. However, that's changed more recently and you're just as likely to hear Russian as English being spoken on a traditionally all-American-style cruise ship in the Mediterranean. And the English you hear is likely to be spoken with a different accent. It's not Crocodile Dundee, but his mates "down under" who have taken to cruising in a big way and cruise lines have responded by positioning ships in Australia to cater to the market there.
In a move to further strengthen its presence in Australia, Holland America Line has announced it will open a sales office in Sydney with a final transition date of Sept 1st. Focused on the Australian market, the independent sales, marketing, and reservations team will provide direct contact with agents and administrative support. The opening of the office follows an earlier announcement that 2011-12 marks the first time Holland America will have two ships, ms Volendam and ms Zaandam, sailing a series of itineraries in the region simultaneously. In 2012-13 the 1,926-passenger ms Oosterdam will join the 1,432-passenger ms Volendam as the first Vista-class ship to be homeported out of Sydney, boosting Holland America Line's capacity in the area by nearly 25 percent.
Although cruise lines, such as Holland America, aren't abandoning U.S. homeports, this move is simply a sign of the times and explains why your favorite ship may not be offering closer-to-home cruises in the future.