- Nights spent at sea: 2,707
- Cruises completed: 314
- Ports visited: 1,168
- Passenger capacity: 1,850
- Max speed: 21 knots
- Passenger decks: 9
When the sale of Pacific Sun was announced in December 2011, the news was undoubtedly met with a degree of sadness by many cruising fans.
Australia’s favourite cruise ship joined P&O Cruises’ growing fleet in 2004. The local cruising fraternity quickly embraced her alluring mix of small-ship style and big-ship facilities, and a loyal following emerged.
Designed by Carnival Cruise Lines’ legendary Joe Farcus, Pacific Sun was originally launched in July 1986 and plied the balmy waters of the Caribbean as MS Jubilee, one of the line’s Holiday-class ships. After her trademark Carnival funnel wings were removed, she crossed the Pacific to make a glamorous debut Down Under in 2004, offering cruises around Australia and the Pacific Islands year-round from Sydney.
As the cruise market and demand from other Australian cities grew, Pacific Sun was relocated to Brisbane in 2007, where she gained a whole new Queensland fan club. The following year she was treated to a multimillion-dollar makeover, in which her look was updated, new facilities were added, and her hull was transformed with a gleaming all-white livery.
With her sparkling fresh look, Pacific Sun ventured into new territory yet again, adding cruises from Auckland and Fremantle to her line-up of itineraries in 2009 and a spell sailing from Newcastle in 2010.
Fast-forward to January 2012 when Pacific Sun took centre stage on Sydney Harbour for the city’s Australia Day celebrations. She was moored in Athol Bay just off Bradleys Head early in the morning, giving her guests front row seats for all the festivities. What followed was unprecedented, wowing audiences on all sides of the harbour and across the nation.
Two giant Australian flags, each measuring 44 metres by 22 metres and weighing more than 100 kilograms, were unfurled on her port and starboard sides as part of the Best Dressed Vessel Competition. The event marked Australia’s special day but for P&O Cruises and fans of Pacific Sun, however, it was also a perfect way give the local favourite a sendoff.
It is astounding to think that she has carried an estimated 586,840 passengers on 332 cruises since 2004. Based on those figures, we estimate that at least 4,864,316,760 meals have been served!