One of the most remote island groups in the world – the privately-owned Conflict Islands – is set to be the latest tourism hot spot for Australian holidaymakers with P&O Cruises announcing it will make the first cruise ship calls to the picturesque Papua New Guinea atoll next year.
With its expanded fleet cruising from eight homeports between 2016 and 2018, the cruise line has released details of its latest itineraries which will see P&O continuing to pioneer new cruise destinations including the uninhabited Conflict Islands and Queensland’s Fraser Island.
In June 2016, Pacific Jewel will become the first cruise ship to call at the untouched Conflict Islands as part of P&O’s Papua New Guinea itineraries. A picturesque group of 21 islands surrounding a blue lagoon that is home to one of the world’s most biodiverse reef systems, the name of the archipelago is in stark contrast to the reality, with the Conflict Islands considered one of the most peaceful places on the planet. In a landmark partnership for the region, P&O Cruises has worked with eccentric entrepreneur and passionate conservationist Ian Gowrie-Smith to bring cruise ships to his islands – one of only a few parcels of land owned freehold in Papua New Guinea.
Further bridging the gap with Australia’s exotic neighbour, P&O Cruises will offer its first international sea break in 2017 with Pacific Eden's second Cairns season including four-night roundtrip itineraries to Alotau in Papua New Guinea with scenic cruising through Kawanasausau Strait and Milne Bay.
P&O Cruises Senior Vice President Sture Myrmell said P&O was thrilled to be bringing the wonders of Papua New Guinea within reach of more Australian holidaymakers.
“We have been pioneering cruising in the Pacific for eight decades and are still discovering fantastic cruise destinations for our guests. Papua New Guinea is one of the most extraordinary places on earth and even though it’s our neighbour, its picturesque islands are relatively untravelled – until now,” Mr Myrmell said.
“With the expansion of our fleet between 2015 and 2017, the destination and itinerary possibilities are endless. We’re taking modern Australian cruise holidays to the next level in the coming years – it’s a very exciting time for local cruising.”
The latest program, which goes on sale on November 17, also includes the first cruise calls to Fraser Island, with Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden set to offer short breaks to the pristine Queensland island from Brisbane and Sydney.
Ensuring Queenslanders get a taste of both P&O Cruises’ latest ships, Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden will have stints joining Pacific Dawn cruising from Brisbane between July 2017 and March 2018. Among the unprecedented line up of 30 short break departures, the ships will cruise to Aussie favourites including Hamilton Island, the Whitsundays and Newcastle (for the Hunter).