The Commonwealth and Cunard

In another era, cruise commentators would say Cunard was sending its entire fleet of ships to Australia because it was part of the British Commonwealth and it was Cunard's "duty" to visit Commonwealth countries every now and then.

Well, Cunard IS sending its entire fleet to Australia this "summer" and it has nothing to do with political obligations. Nobody talks much about the Commonwealth these days and Cunard's only "duty" is to send its ships to where the action is. This is a business.

Besides that, Cunard isn't owned by the Brits…it's owned by Carnival, which is predominantly American.

So much for that feel-good story…

Nonetheless, the three Queens of Cunard — Victoria, Mary 2 and Elizabeth – will all be in Australian waters in the same season, which is February and March "Down Under." In addition to having a family reunion, they'll be part of the largest deployment of cruise ships to Australia, ever.

Between the southern hemisphere's mid-spring (October 1) until its mid-autumn (April 30), there will be 34 cruise ships in and around Australia. They'll make 588 port calls, up about five per cent over last year, when 33 ships were visiting. It's expected these records will continue to change each year, for the foreseeable future.

The reason for the cruise explosion is, well, Australians. Last year, almost 700,000 of them went on a cruise, another record that keeps changing.

So it's not because they're getting a lot of visits from their Commonwealth cousins.

Celebrity Summit
7 nights
February 1, 2014
San Juan (return): St. CroixSt. Kitts, Roseau, GrenadaSt. Thomas
Inside: $549
Cost per day: $78
www.celebritycruises.com

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