PRINCESS Cruises superliner, Sea Princess has begun her maiden Sydney season, with her debut underlining Australians' growing love affair with cruising.
As the cruise season was officially kicked off, Sea Princess was welcomed into Sydney Harbour with a traditional water cannon display.
The 77,000-tonne Sea Princess is one of a record six Princess Cruises' ships, which will be based in Australia or visiting local shores over the summer months, in a multi-million dollar boost for the economy.
Sea Princess will operate 12 round trip cruises from Sydney over the next six months sailing to New Zealand, the South Pacific and China and Japan.
Princess Cruises commercial director Stan Birge said the ship's Sydney deployment reflected the strong interest in cruise holidays among Australians.
"This is one of the fastest growing markets in the world for cruise holidays so it's very important to us to have a strong presence here, with our ships now sailing from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Fremantle," Mr Birge said.
"Australians have a great appetite for cruise holidays - they are clearly discovering that cruising is a very relaxing, comfortable way to travel."
Stretching 261 metres in length and rising more than 47 metres above the waterline, Sea Princess has 14 decks and carries 1990 passengers. She has 975 staterooms including more than 400 with private balconies.
Her features include a giant poolside Movies Under the Stars screen, a child-free Sanctuary relaxation area, two show lounges including a 550-passenger theatre, four pools, two main restaurants, a steakhouse, pizzeria, and a café. The ship offers an onboard currency of Australian dollars and entertainment geared to Australian tastes.
Sea Princess joins Princess Cruises' two full-time Australian ships, her identical sisters Sun Princess and Dawn Princess, as well as the cruise line's megaliner Diamond Princess, which will arrive in Sydney in December for a two-month season. Meanwhile the boutique Ocean Princess and Pacific Princess will also visit Australia over the summer.