Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden: a new era for Australia cruising

The christening of P&O Australia’s new ships went off with a bang, marking another step up for the burgeoning Australian cruise industry. Sarah Glover, content editor of Cruise Sale Finder, reports

Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden: a new era for Australia cruising
Pacific Eden was christened during a ceremony in Sydney Harbour (Image: Cruise Sale Finder)

The cruise industry in Australia is ever-growing and with it, the fleet of P&O Cruises, the only big-ship line that is exclusively based Down Under. Some of the Cruise Sale Finder team were lucky enough to get onboard the Pacific Aria as she and her sister ship the Pacific Eden were christened and officially welcomed to the P&O Cruises Australia family.

Early on the 25 November, a beautifully sunny Wednesday, Pacific Dawn, Pacific Pearl, Pacific Jewel and the two newcomers met off the New South Wales coast before sailing into Sydney Harbour in a ‘V’ formation to start the ceremony.

Two prominent Australians, actress Kate Ritchie and singer Jessica Mauboy, were chosen as the godmothers for the Pacific Eden and Pacific Aria respectively. In keeping with P&O Cruises’s modern appeal, the line picked an unprecedented way to officially name the ships – via social media. As the ships passed either side of Fort Denison, the godmothers sent the naming tweets, champagne struck the bows and the two newcomers officially became a part of the fleet.

Celebrations continued into the evening, with performances from some favourite Australian bands and singers on each of the five ships, which were docked at various points around the harbour. The ‘Five Ship Spectacular’ was a treat not only for those onboard, but also for many people in Sydney. In addition to viewing the five ships gathered in the harbour, spectators were also able to watch a fireworks display in the evening.

Our team was able to stay a night on the Pacific Aria, and reported that she is a bold, colourful and modern ship with public spaces that have been renovated and redecorated to great effect. Fun details and new features like the Pantry with food market eateries, rather than a buffet, are ushering in a new era of Australian cruising.

Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden have now begun a busy schedule of itineraries, with the Aria offering cruises from Sydney and Brisbane in 2016, and Pacific Eden sailing from a variety of different places including Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Fremantle and Cairns. Destinations on the ships rosters range from domestic ports, to South Pacific isles, to slightly more exotic options like Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.

The twin ships are smaller than their fleetmates, but offer a fresh take on cruising with P&O Cruises, debuting two new speciality restaurants and a new look across the ships. P&O Cruises has also announced plans to welcome another ship to the fleet in 2017 – the vessel currently sailing as the Dawn Princess for Princess Cruises. She will be renamed the Pacific Explorer and replicate many of the Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden’s spaces and features on a larger scale.

Sarah Glover is content editor for Cruise Sale Finder

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Monday, December 21, 2015