In a major boost for local tourism, Gladstone is set to take its place as a regular cruise destination for P&O Cruises, following the expansion of the cruise line’s fleet to five ships.
Four calls to Gladstone are included in P&O Cruises’ new 2015-16 cruise schedule launched today, with each visit occurring during cruises from Sydney which will also call at Moreton Island and Mooloolaba.
The cruises, scheduled from May to August 2016, have great potential to open up the Southern Great Barrier Reef experience, highlighting spectacular local attractions in the Gladstone area.
P&O Cruises recently announced that its latest ships Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden would enter the fleet in November 2015 joining Pacific Dawn, which is based year round in Brisbane, as well as Pacific Jewel and Pacific Pearl.
“Having a five-ship fleet has given P&O Cruises much greater flexibility to open up new destinations to the significant benefits of cruise tourism,” P&O Cruises CEO Ann Sherry said.
“Gladstone is among a number of regional ports that will now take their place as regular cruise destinations benefiting from visits from thousands of cruise travellers. We know that the Gladstone community has looked forward to this development and their support is warmly appreciated.”
Gladstone Regional Council Mayor Cr Gail Sellers said she was delighted by the news that P&O Cruises had decided to call at Gladstone from 2016.
“Not only is Gladstone the gateway to the Southern Great Barrier Reef with direct access to Heron Island, Lady Musgrave Island and the historic town of 1770 but passengers will also be welcomed by the $45 million foreshore re-development which will provide a world class family and lifestyle precinct.
“This parkland development is designed to reflect a sustainable industrial city and will feature historical artefacts from Gladstone's Maritime Museum throughout the precinct, including the relocated Sea Hill lighthouse.
“The precinct is due to be completed prior to the arrival of the first ship. Our community will ensure we provide the best possible experience for P&O Cruises’ passengers of our wonderful piece of paradise."
Other major highlights of P&O Cruises’ 2015-16 program in Queensland include the decision to base a second ship in Brisbane for a summer and a winter season, sailing alongside the full-time Pacific Dawn, as well as a raft of new cruises visiting Queensland destinations including Hamilton Island, the Whitsundays and Cooktown.
Ms Sherry said P&O Cruises was pleased that Queensland would increasingly benefit from the long value chain of cruising as it continued to grow as a result of the cruise line’s expansion.
“Our expansion to become a five-ship fleet with the largest number of cruise ships homeported year round in Australia will help the industry reach its goal of a million passengers a year in 2015, five years earlier than forecast,” Ms Sherry said.