Princess Cruises has announced its first-ever year-round program of sailing from Fremantle in a move which reflects the growing popularity of cruises from Western Australia.

Releasing its new 2015-16 cruise schedules, Princess Cruises revealed that Sun Princess will be based in Fremantle from November 2015 to March 2016, offering 11 different cruises to and from the port in the cruise line’s first Fremantle summer season.

The new cruises will combine with a record winter Fremantle season for Princess Cruises, with Sun Princess’ sister ships Dawn Princess and Sea Princess sailing on 12 itineraries from the port from April to October 2015, to give the cruise line its first year-round program of Fremantle departures.

Princess Cruises Vice President Australia and New Zealand Stuart Allison said the decision to extend its Fremantle sailings followed continued strong demand for cruises among Western Australians since the cruise line offered its first winter season in 2008.

Mr Allison said the new cruises meant that Princess Cruises would carry more than 45,000 passengers to and from Fremantle from April 2015 to March 2016, with the cruises expected to generate an estimated $20 million for the local economy.

“Cruising is booming around Australia, with an annual average passenger growth rate of 20 per cent for the past decade, and Western Australia is no exception,” Mr Allison said.

Mr Allison said a highlight of the Western Australian summer program would be the return of Princess Cruises’ 46-night cruise to India and South Africa – a popular itinerary last offered by the cruise line in 2011. Other itineraries would include 12 and 14-night cruises through southeast Asia as well as 15-night roundtrip cruises to Indonesia including a Christmas and New Year departure, sailing from Fremantle on 20 December 2015.

The 77,000-tonne Sun Princess carries 2000 passengers.