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Rob Blackburn - 2009 - The MurrayPre-registrations have opened for cabins on the first sailings of Australia’s first five-star river ship, Australian Star, which will offer cruises of up to a week on the iconic Murray River from April, 2025.

Murray River Paddlesteamers is offering special, reduced deposits of just $150 per person for all cabins and suites aboard the luxury $6.75 million paddlesteamer, which is currently under construction.

The pre-registrations give would-be guests priority status to be amongst the first passengers to sail aboard the new 38-guest ship.

Fares will be released in February, 2024, when bookings will open to meet strong demand from consumers and also tour companies and travel agents keen to book group space for their own holiday packages.

Australian Star is being built in a specially designed shed beside the Murray River in Mildura and, after her launch in April, 2025, will offer year-round, all-inclusive, overnight cruises of up to seven days on the Murray River from Echuca in Victoria. The vessel will be Australia’s first five-star river cruise product, the largest paddlesteamer in the Southern Hemisphere and the only wood-fired, five-star, accommodated paddlesteamer in the world.

Fusing heritage charm with contemporary elegance and luxury, the 35m-long 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.

Australian Star - Queen Suite - rendering

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

Murray River Paddlesteamers Director, Craig Burgess, said anticipation was building strongly for the debut of Australian Star.

“We’re confident that when bookings open in February, 2024, many of the first cruises will book out quickly so we strongly recommend anyone keen to be part of history pre-registers for cabins now,” Mr Burgess said. “It’s clear that Australian Star is already stirring the imagination for many Australians and let me say, we at Murray River Paddlesteamers are as excited as them!”

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

To pre-register for cabins on Australian Star sailings beginning April, 2025, click here: www.murrayriverpaddlesteamers.com.au/australian-star