Vista, Valiant Lady, Paul Gauguin flagged for down under

Disney Cruise Lines schedules third Australian season for Disney Wonder

Updated cruise port schedules suggest a number of high-end new and debut ship appearances in Australia are on the cards for 2025 and 2026. According to Sydney and Darwin port timetables, new vessels operated by Oceania Cruises, Virgin Voyages, along with PONANT/Paul Gauguin Cruises are in the mix.

Perhaps the vessel that will create the most noise is Oceania Cruises’ new upper premium vessel, Vista, which premiered just a few months ago. The 1,200-passenger game-changer ship has been mooted to sail to Australian waters but the latest schedules appear to indicate a timeframe as to when Vista will make its down under debut.

It is important to note that port schedules are not guaranteed deployment plans of cruise lines. However, they have proven to be a reliable indicator in the past, as was the case with Disney Wonder‘s launch in local waters, exclusively foreshadowed first by LATTE in July last year.

Disney Wonder appears to be returning for a third season in Australia/NZ

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Speaking of Disney Cruise Line‘s ship, the family-oriented cruise operator recently confirmed a second seasonal deployment of Disney Wonder in Australia and New Zealand for 2024/25 – once again foreshadowed first by LATTE – and opened sales late last month. Now, this publication can reveal Disney has already laid the foundation for its 2025/26 season. Sydney port schedules show Disney Wonder is flagged to return to the ‘Harbour City’ on 17 October 2025 and – at this stage – will be operating locally until early February 2026, at least. That does exclude other likely earlier port visits, such as Brisbane, which are currently not listed online.

In 2026, Oceania Cruises’ has scheduled a port call for Vista in Darwin on 18 April. Most other major Australian cruise infrastructure hubs do not have their schedules listed this far in advance to gauge what other movements are envisioned for the ship, however, Sydney Ports has an “Unnamed Vessel” docking at White Bay Cruise Terminal nine days earlier, on 9 April, that is operated by Oceania Cruises.

Interestingly, Oceania Cruises has a port call in Sydney assigned and listed by name, for Riviera, on 2 April 2026. Riviera is also scheduled to call in at Darwin 10 days later on 12 April 2026.

Darwin Port's cruise ship schedule indicates a port call by Oceania Cruiss' Vista on 18 April 2026

Other interesting observations from the cruise port websites indicate that Virgin Voyages will be utilising Valiant Lady in Australia from December 2025. Valiant Lady entered service officially in March 2022.

Her deployment appears to be a swap out from Resilient Lady which is being used by Richard Branson’s cruise line in Australia and New Zealand for the upcoming season in Australia and New Zealand, and again for the 2024/2025 summer season. Valiant Lady – the second ship in the Virgin Voyages’ fleet – will remain locally based until the second half of March 2026.

Darwin Port’s schedules also indicate that both Scenic and Seabourn have committed to return deployments in the Kimberley for Scenic Eclipse II and Seabourn Pursuit in 2025 (which were expected) after their inaugural seasons in 2024.

Valiant Lady, Virgin Voyages' second 'Lady' ships, appears to be bound for Australia (replacing Resilient Lady) for the 2025/26

And Paul Gauguin Cruises’ vessel, Le Paul Gauguin, will be in Darwin on 15 April 2025, perhaps en route to Singapore for a dry dock or maybe operating a one-off return voyage from French Polynesia to include an Australia port/s.

As stated earlier, these are not concrete plans by the mentioned cruise lines, but they offer some level of insight into what is potentially on the cards for future ship deployments.

Lead image: Oceania Cruises’ Vista in Ajaccio, France 

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