Australia’s home-grown cruise line is ready to make its big comeback after two long years in exile.
P&O Cruises Australia is preparing to make its first orders for veritable truckloads of local fresh produce as Pacific Explorer begins its homecoming voyage.
Pacific Explorer, which is scheduled to begin its first guest cruise from Australia on 31 May — a Sydney to Brisbane round trip — is due to arrive in Sydney in mid-April soon after the federal cruise ban is lifted on 17 April.
The ship had been standing off the coast of Cyprus, with P&O sister ships Pacific Encounter and Pacific Adventure, while awaiting their phased return to service.
Subject to government approval, Pacific Explorer will be berthed in Sydney during ramping up procedures to prepare for the restart of cruising.
“Our suppliers are at last seeing that the restart of cruising also means the restart of opportunity for them after two long years,” said Marguerite Fitzgerald, president of Carnival Australia and P&O Cruises Australia.
“We are back in the marketplace for the first time in two years for the supply of a wide range of products.
“Pacific Explorer’s mid-April arrival means that we will soon be placing our first orders for local fresh produce including large quantities of fruit and vegetables.
“For its first cruise, Pacific Explorer will typically need more than 300 pallets of supplies with around a third carrying around 50 tonnes of fresh produce.
“These numbers will increase further as Pacific Encounter and Pacific Adventure return to service to cruise from Australia.”
Meanwhile, the chairman of P&O’s parent company, Carnival Corporation, Micky Arison and his wife Madeline have pledged to donate $3 million USD ($4,001,628) to organisations providing humanitarian support to Ukrainian refugees.
The Micky and Madeleine Arison Family Foundation will donate $1 million to each of the following organizations involved in relief efforts: World Central Kitchen– providing fresh meals to Ukrainian families fleeing home and remaining in the country, Direct Relief- providing medical aid, medicines and supplies to people displaced within Ukraine and those who have fled to neighbouring countries, UNICEF USA– working with partners to reach vulnerable children and families with essential services – including health, education, protection, water and sanitation – as well as life-saving supplies.
Carnival Corporation’s namesake brand, Carnival Cruise Line, has also made a $50,000 USD ($66,697) donation to World Central Kitchen, honouring its employees and crew members from Ukraine.
In Europe, Costa Group – which includes the Costa Cruises and AIDA Cruises brands – was able to donate medical supplies and medicines to support the treatment of injuries and common diseases in Ukraine.
“We stand for peace and our hearts go out to everyone whose lives have been upended by the invasion of Ukraine,” said Arnold Donald, CEO of Carnival Corporation.
“We have crew members from 145 countries and we sail with guests from nations around the globe, so we feel deeply the human impact of this humanitarian crisis and we join many others in supporting relief efforts.”