Australia’s leading cruise line P&O Cruises is putting two picturesque Victorian towns on the cruise map with the first cruise ship visits to Portland and Mornington later this month.
Pacific Pearl is set to become the first cruise ship to call at Victoria’s thriving food and wine haven, Mornington Peninsula, on Tuesday February 24 followed by its maiden call to Portland on the Great Ocean Road on Wednesday February 25. With a focus on regional coastal towns, the ship’s new eight-night roundtrip itinerary from Sydney also includes a maiden call to Eden on New South Wales’ Sapphire Coast as well as a visit to South Australia’s Kangaroo Island.
The 63,875-tonne superliner is due to berth at Mornington at 8am with its 1800 guests spending the day enjoying the region’s attractions including Sorrento, Portsea, the Peninsula’s wineries and swimming with dolphins and sea dragons.
The ship will sail for Portland at 5pm, arriving at the western end of the Great Ocean Road at 7am when guests will have the opportunity to explore the port’s maritime history or visit Cape Bridgewater’s fur seals before departing for Sydney at 5pm.
Over the next 12 months, the cruise line will make five calls to Mornington Peninsula and seven to Portland, injecting almost $5 million into the local communities.
P&O Cruises Senior Vice President Tammy Marshall said the cruise line had been pioneering cruising from Australia for more than 80 years and was proud to be introducing its guests to some special new ports on Victoria’s stunning south coast.
“We’re thrilled to be taking our guests to some of Victoria’s most beautiful coastal areas, while also spreading the valuable cruise dollar further in what is sure to be a boon for these regional towns,” Ms Marshall said.
The maiden visits come as P&O Cruises builds its presence in Victoria. For the first time, the cruise line will send a trifecta of ships south for the race that stops the nation with Pacific Jewel, Pacific Pearl and Pacific Dawn all offering Melbourne Cup cruises this year, while the cruise line’s first short break cruise to Melbourne’s Food and Wine Festival departs Sydney on March 12.
The addition of two more ships– Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden – to the P&O Cruises’ fleet in late November will pave the way for more itinerary options for Victorian cruisers, with Pacific Jewel to be based in Melbourne from December 2015 to February 2016 and Pacific Eden sailing from the city from February to March 2016. The record season will include 15 roundtrip cruises from the city, injecting close to $15 million into the local economy.