Friday 12 January 2024

Bookings to open for overnight cruises on Australia's first five star riverboat

#expeditioncruising .

Bookings to open early February for the launch in 2025 of Australia’s first five-star overnight river cruises

Savings and bonuses for earlybird bookings made by February 29, 2024

Murray River Paddlesteamers has announced the 2025 launch date and the opening of bookings for Australia’s first five-star, overnight river boat, PS Australian Star.

Fares have also been released for the new, luxury $6.75 million vessel which will offer year-round, all-inclusive cruises of up to a week on the Murray River from Echuca in Victoria.

General bookings for Australian Star will open to the public on February 5, 2024, with savings and bonuses available for earlybird bookings made by February 29, 2024. However, Australians who pre-register for the Australian Star Members Club can book the first sailings next year from February 1, 2024, while those attending the Geelong Travel Expo can book in person at the cruise line’s stand on February 4, 2024. Demand for the maiden cruises of the 38-guest vessel is expected to be strong.

Murray River Paddlesteamers has revealed that PS Australian Star’s inaugural cruises will be a four-night sailing on May 5, 2025 and then a three-night cruise on May 9, 2025, continuing in rotation all year, with guests able to combine both for a seven-night journey from May 12, 2025, onwards.

Murray River Paddlesteamers also announced that PS (Paddlesteamer) Australian Star has been confirmed as the name for the luxury vessel despite early plans to run a public competition to come up with a new name, with the company saying the early working title of PS Australian Star had quickly built a strong resonance with Australians and would stay.

“It’s clear the name PS Australian Star has stirred the imagination of many Australians and struck a chord, embodying the essence of heritage, elegance and the Australian spirit,” said Murray River Paddlesteamers Director, Craig Burgess. “Our majestic riverboat and its distinguished name will celebrate and keep alive the rich and storied era of paddlesteamers in Australia. PS Australian Star will fuse the past with the present, allowing guests to relish the timeless charm of a romantic paddlesteamer while savouring the elegance and comfort of contemporary cruising,” he said.

Mr Burgess also said anticipation was already very high for the debut of Australian Star in 2025. “We’re confident that when bookings open in February, 2024, cabins for our inaugural season will sell quickly, with Australians keen to experience the birth of a new era for river cruising in this country,” he said.

PS Australian Star is being built in a specially designed shed beside the Murray River in Mildura and, after her launch in May next year will be Australia’s first five-star river cruise vessel, the largest paddlesteamer in the Southern Hemisphere and the only wood-fired, five-star, accommodated paddlesteamer in the world.

Backed by $2.25 million in funding by the Victorian Government’s Regional Tourism Investment Fund, PS Australian Star will succeed the smaller and older, 16-guest PS Emmylou which currently offers overnight cruises on the Murray.

Fares for PS Australian Star released

Murray River Paddlesteamers has now released fares for the inaugural 2025/26 season of PS Australian Star. A three-night cruise on the Murray will be available from $2670 per person, twin-share, a four-night sailing from $3560 per person, twin-share, and a seven-night journey from $6280 per person, twin-share

Cruises are from the historic river port of Echuca in Victoria and fares include onboard meals, daily shore excursions and experiences, V Line rail transport between Melbourne and Echuca, cruise transfers, Wi-Fi, gratuities, selected beers and wines with dinner and soft drink, bottled water and tea/coffee throughout the cruise.

Savings for earlybird bookings – book by February 29, 2024

Savings of 10 per cent, free secure carparking in Echuca and a maiden season commemorative gift are available for bookings for PS Australian Star made by February 29, 2024.

Including the earrlybird discount, fares for a three-night cruise will be available from $2403 per person, twin-share, a four-night cruise from $3204 per person, twin-share, and a seven-night cruise from $5652 per person, twin-share. Book by February 29, 2024. Subject to availability.

General bookings for PS Australian Star open February 5, 2024.

To gain early access to bookings, pre-registration with the Australian Star Members Club is still available with a deposit of $150 per person, with priority bookings for club members opening February 1, 2024.

For access, visit

* To book, call Murray River Paddlesteamers on 03 5482 5244 or visit

** Murray River Paddlesteamers will offer a 10 per cent commission for travel agents booking Australian Star sailings plus bonuses for multiple bookings.

About PS Australian Star

Fusing heritage charm with contemporary elegance and luxury, PS Australian Star will boast a deluxe and contemporary lounge offering sweeping river vistas, a fine-dining restaurant, multiple outdoor relaxation areas, the company’s first elevator for easy access to all levels, and 19 plush and modern staterooms, all opening to a deck and offering an ensuite, air-conditioning, complimentary Wi-Fi, luxury linen and a TV entertainment system as well as ever-changing river views.

Australian Star will sport a modern, energy-efficient, hybrid diesel/steam propulsion system featuring a vintage, refurbished 1907 Richard Garrett and Sons wood-fired steam engine, adding a touch of nostalgia and authenticity to the journey.

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