Brisbane’s emerging role as a major cruising hub is set to increase further with P&O Cruises announcing it will base a second cruise ship in the Queensland capital.
Having homeported Pacific Dawn in Brisbane year round since 2009, P&O Cruises today unveiled plans to expand its presence with the deployment of one of its latest ships – Pacific Aria – from the city for both a summer and winter season in 2015-16.
In all, Pacific Aria and Pacific Dawn will sail on a record 85 cruises from Brisbane from November 2015 to September 2016, in a move estimated to be worth close to $80 million in economic value to the Queensland capital.
The move follows the growth of P&O Cruises’ existing three-ship fleet to five ships with the addition of Pacific Aria and another mid-sized ship, Pacific Eden, late next year.
In a further boost for the rapidly growing Queensland cruise market, P&O Cruises also announced that Pacific Eden will be based in Cairns from September to November 2016, sailing on eight voyages and delivering the city its first ever cruise season.
With Queensland itineraries featuring heavily in the cruise line’s program, the State will also benefit from 85 visits to regional ports from Moreton Island to Cooktown during 2015-16, generating an estimated $20 million for regional Queensland.
P&O Cruises CEO Ann Sherry said Queensland was central to the growth of the nation’s cruise industry.
“P&O Cruises pioneered cruise operations in Brisbane having based a cruise ship in the city year round since 2004 and has introduced many thousands of Queenslanders to the delights of cruise holidays,” Ms Sherry said.
“Brisbane is even more important following the expansion of the P&O Cruises’ fleet offering with a greater range of cruise possibilities, destinations and experiences. We think our Queensland guests will fall in love with Pacific Aria, as they have with Pacific Dawn.”
The Brisbane deployment of the 1500-passenger Pacific Aria will enable P&O Cruises to offer a wider choice of holidays from the city, including more extensive South Pacific voyages, more short-break themed cruises and Queensland coastal cruises, which will benefit regional ports.
Pacific Aria will first be based in Brisbane from November 2015 for a season of 21 cruisesand will return again in June 2016 for a further 13 cruises. Major highlights of P&O Cruises’ program from Brisbane include:
- New P&O Seabreak cruises to Hamilton Island and Moreton Island
- A new 18-night P&O Explorer cruise visiting Vanuatu, Fiji, Tonga and Samoa on Pacific Aria
- Nine new seven-night Barrier Reef Discovery cruises on Pacific Aria including visits to Hamilton Island
- Seven-night cruises on Pacific Dawn with visits to Whitsundays, Cairns, Port Douglas and Willis Island (scenic cruising)
- A five-night Australia Day cruise visiting Sydney and the Hunter Valley (Newcastle) on Pacific Aria
- A 10-night Christmas cruise on Pacific Aria visiting Hamilton Island, Cairns, Cooktown, Willis Island (scenic cruising) and Moreton Island.
Fares start from $849 per person quad share for a seven-night Pacific Island cruise.
The expanded Brisbane season is a major highlight of P&O Cruises’ record-breaking 2015-16 program which features 250 cruises from eight different homeports across its five-ship fleet.
With P&O Cruises sourcing almost all of its fresh produce in Australia, the cruise line’s expansion is likely to be a further boost for Queensland suppliers who already contribute large quantities of fruit and vegetables. In a typical year, P&O Cruises buys 1.1 million kilograms of fruit, 341,000 kilograms of vegetables and 1.2 million eggs from Queensland suppliers.
Ms Sherry said the cruise line was pleased that Queensland would increasingly benefit from the long value chain of cruising as it continued to grow as a result of P&O Cruises’ expansion.
“Our growth to become a five-ship fleet with the largest number of cruise ships homeported year round in Australia will help the industry achieve its goal of a million passengers a year in 2015, five years earlier than forecast,” Ms Sherry said.