P&O Cruises today thanked Newcastle and the Hunter Valley for their warm welcome for passengers on Pacific Dawn, which made a surprise visit after the threat of Cyclone Ita forced the superliner to change its itinerary.
Pacific Dawn was to have departed from Brisbane last Saturday for a scheduled Queensland coastal cruise but P&O Cruises made the decision to send the ship south to keep well away from the severe conditions whipped up by the cyclone.
As a result, Ita’s fury has delivered Newcastle a ‘silver lining’ with Pacific Dawn making her maiden visit to the port and effectively extending the local peak summer cruise season with an additional ship visit.
The surprise visit comes as P&O Cruises announced its return to Newcastle, with Pacific Dawn set to sail on new short cruises from Brisbane to the Hunter Valley from March 2015.
“We want to thank the people of Newcastle and the Hunter for making Pacific Dawn’s passengers so welcome,” said P&O Cruises spokesman David Jones.
“The warmth of the welcome and the many local attractions certainly helped ease any disappointment passengers might have experienced over the unavoidable change in their itinerary from a coastal Queensland cruise to Sydney, Newcastle and Moreton Island,” Mr Jones said.
“Our passengers had a great choice of local shore excursions including tours of the city and Fort Scratchley military museum, dolphin watching at Port Stephens and a Hunter Valley wine tour.
“And they will be looking forward to the traditional booming gun salute from Fort Scratchley as Pacific Dawn departs Newcastle this evening and heads back to her Queensland home.”
The 70,205-tonne Pacific Dawn arrived in Newcastle early this morning and will depart around 6pm, heading north to Moreton Island off Queensland’s coast before returning home to Brisbane on Saturday.