P&O Cruises Australia today revealed that Pacific Encounter would be the name of the next 3000-guest ship to join the fleet in 2021 and also announced it would farewell its much loved ships, Pacific Dawn and Pacific Aria, in the same year.
The update on P&O Cruises’ fleet transformation program comes as preparations continue for the spectacular addition of Pacific Adventure in 2020.
It is part of the previously announced strategy of replacing vessels over time with larger ships to enable the cruise line to better meet demand and exceed guest expectations in this region.
From late 2021, Pacific Explorer, Pacific Adventure and Pacific Encounter will comprise the new look P&O fleet with a total capacity of about 9000 guests — equivalent to the brand’s capacity when the fleet consisted of five smaller ships.
In announcing the farewell of Pacific Dawn and Pacific Aria, P&O said the ships would not leave the fleet until February and April 2021 respectively.
P&O Cruises President Sture Myrmell said the update showed that great progress had been made in reshaping the P&O fleet to set the scene for a bright and successful future but much more was still to be done to complete the transition.
“We have a clear picture of the P&O fleet of the future and it is a very exciting prospect with the brand well positioned to continue to lead in this dynamic market,” Mr Myrmell said.
“When we embarked on this transformation two years ago, we committed to refresh the fleet over time and to set the brand up for continued success.
“P&O’s Pacific Adventure will be introduced with the our distinctive look and feel along with some new onboard features that means P&O Cruises remains the driving force for cruising in Australia and New Zealand.
“For all of us at P&O, the announcement that Pacific Encounter will be the next ship to join the fleet in 2021 is another exciting moment in the evolution of our cruise line.
“It is always sad to farewell much loved ships. Both ships are close to our hearts with Pacific Dawn particularly special to us and the many thousands of guests who have sailed on her.”
P&O wants to give guests every opportunity to sail on Pacific Dawn's sentimental final cruise. Pacific Dawn will depart Melbourne on February 8, 2021 sailing to Singapore via Brisbane. There are three great options for guests to farewell this magnificent ship.
• Option One -- a fantastic short break cruise from Melbourne to Brisbane.
• Option Two -- the Asia and Explorer cruise from Brisbane to Singapore.
• Option Three -- the 'full farewell’, a combined 17-nights voyage from Melbourne right through to Singapore.
We also want to give guests every opportunity to sail on Pacific Aria's sentimental final cruise with P&O. Pacific Aria will depart Melbourne on April 9, 2021 sailing to Singapore via Fremantle. There are three great options for guests to say farewell.
• Option One -- a fantastic six-night 'Southern Discovery' cruise from Melbourne to Fremantle calling at Esperance and Albany
• Option Two -- the Asia and Australia Explorer 12-night cruise from Fremantle to Singapore
• Option Three -- the 'full farewell’, a combined 18-nights voyage from Melbourne right through to Singapore via Fremantle.
“When Pacific Dawn was introduced in 2007, she led the resurgence of cruising in Australia, based first in Sydney before sailing from Brisbane for the past 11 years,” Mr Myrmell said.
“Pacific Aria quickly became a firm favourite for many guests having joined the fleet in November 2015 and participating in the amazing five-ship sail into Sydney Harbour that captured everyone’s imagination.”
With the long lead time to the departure of the two ships, only a small number of bookings are affected and these guests will be offered alternative arrangements including a full refund if no other suitable cruise option can be found.
Mr Myrmell said this was a very exciting time for P&O Cruises.
“Having Pacific Adventure and Pacific Encounter join the fleet in close succession is the biggest change to the fleet since Pacific Dawn became the catalyst for the massive growth in cruising in Australia and New Zealand,” he said.
“The evolution of the fleet is a huge project but it is also an expression of confidence in the brand and in the future.”