Cruise

P&O Cruises launch first Australian departure following cruising’s return

P&O Cruises Australia’s flagship Pacific Explorer has departed from Sydney on its first guest cruise following the restart of cruising in Australia.

The four-night cruise to Brisbane will also result in more history being made as Pacific Explorer on Thursday becomes the first cruise ship to berth at the Brisbane International Cruise Terminal, which was underwritten by Carnival Australia through its long-term commitment.

President of Carnival Australia and P&O Cruises Australia Marguerite Fitzgerald said: “Today is an emotional moment in time for so many people who have looked forward to the resumption of cruise operations in Australia and the rebirth of the $5 billion a year cruise industry.

“For P&O Cruises Australia and its suppliers, its shoreside and onboard staff and its travel agent partners, the first guest cruise on flagship Pacific Explorer also marks the return of economic opportunity. 

“The first guest cruise to Brisbane is day one of the resurgence of cruising in this region.”

Pacific Explorer’s arrival in Brisbane comes in the ninetieth anniversary year of P&O’s first-ever cruise in Australia when, in December 1932, the mail steamer Strathaird called there on a seven-night cruise from Sydney.

Pacific Explorer

Thursday’s Pacific Explorer call to Brisbane is of particular significance to Queensland with its multitude of cruise destinations now set to benefit from the revitalisation of cruise tourism.

Prior to the pandemic, cruising accounted for more than $1 billion annually in economic activity in Queensland with regional destinations from Moreton Island to Cairns benefiting.

In August, P&O Cruises Australia’s Pacific Encounter will take up residence in Brisbane as her home port carrying on the legacy of the much-loved Pacific Dawn which made more than 500 circuits of the Brisbane River. 

And in mid-June, sister brand Princess Cruises will home port Coral Princess in Brisbane marking a ten-year Princess relationship with the city. In 2023, Carnival Cruise Line will home port a ship in Brisbane.

Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth will call at Airlie Beach, Cairns and Port Douglas in November. Queen Victoria will call at Cairns in March 2023 with flagship Queen Mary 2 visiting Airlie Beach and Brisbane the same month.

“We can’t wait to see happy guests back on board Pacific Explorer on our first guest cruise since cruising in Australia was given the green light to resume,” Fitzgerald said. 

“It’s more than two years since we have delivered a commercial cruise but, on our recent three-night test sailing from Sydney,  Pacific Explorer’s onboard team performed brilliantly. 

“You would swear they had never been away and have been eager to welcome our guests on board who will be just as keen to see our crew again.”



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