Plus savings on overnight Murray River cruises this winter.
Construction started on Australia’s first five-star river ship, PS Australian Star, with Murray River Paddlesteamers also releasing, for the first time launch timing and details of the new, luxury $6.75 million vessel which will offer year-round, all-inclusive, overnight cruises on the Murray River from Echuca in Victoria.
Work has started on the site for the 38-guest ship beside the Murray in Mildura where PS Australian Star will be built using Australian materials and labour. Murray River Paddlesteamers has announced PS (Paddlesteamer) Australian Star will begin operations from Echuca in April, 2025, succeeding the smaller and older, 16-guest PS Emmylou which currently offers overnight cruises on the Murray.
Fusing heritage charm with contemporary luxury and stretching 35m, the deluxe PS Australian Star will become Australia’s first five-star river cruise experience, the largest paddlesteamer in the Southern Hemisphere and the only wood-fired, five-star accommodated paddlesteamer in the world.
PS Australian Star will offer cruises lasting three and four nights with guests able to combine the two cruises for a longer seven-night cruise. Fares, to be announced this July will be all-inclusive, covering rail transfers from Melbourne, daily shore excursions, a shoreside, campfire dinner under the stars and beer and wine with dinner. Bookings for Australian Star will open this spring.
Destined to attract luxe-seeking, high-yield visitors from around Australia and around the world, the unique vessel has been supported with $2.25 million in funding by the Victorian Government’s Regional Tourism Investment Fund.
The three-deck PS Australian Star will be 60 per cent larger than PS Emmylou, with more expansive and contemporary amenities including the panoramic Hopwood Lounge, multiple outdoor relaxation areas, the company’s first elevator for easy access to all levels and the Cadell Restaurant serving a different, fine-dining menu every day championing fresh, local produce.
PS Australian Star will also offer 19 modern and elegant staterooms, all opening to a deck and offering river views, ensuite, air-conditioning, complimentary Wi-Fi, luxury linen, TV entertainment system, seating and writing desk. Two of the staterooms will be spacious suites with private outdoor decks, one offering a Queen bed and the other a King bed. All other staterooms will offer Queen beds, with the option of splitting them into twin beds in 16 of the cabins – also a first for Murray River Paddlesteamers. Two of the cabins will also be available for guests with mobility issues.
The vessel will offer a modern, energy-efficient, hybrid diesel/steam propulsion system featuring a vintage, refurbished 1907 Richard Garrett and Sons wood-fired steam engine.
Murray River Paddlesteamers Director, Craig Burgess said PS Australian Star would revolutionise overnight river cruising in Australia and draw new high-yield domestic and international visitors and lucrative tour group business to Victoria.
“When she sails along the Murray for the first time in 2025, PS Australian Star will offer the ultimate in river cruising luxury, ushering in an exciting new era for tourism in Australia,” Mr Burgess said. “Australians love cruising, and they love the Murray River but they want comfort and facilities akin to those on European rivers. Interest in her is already high and when we open fares for sale this spring, we know demand will be robust,” he said. “The support of the Victorian Government has been pivotal in this project, bringing forward the construction of this wonderful new ship by several years.”
* Murray River Paddlesteamers will offer a 10 per cent commission for travel agents plus bonuses for multiple bookings.
Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales. She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.