The cruise line said the 135,500-tonne ship would be the biggest cruise ship ever to be based fulltime in Australia, carrying more than 4200 guests.
To be launched in 2019, the new ship will have double the capacity of the biggest cruise vessel currently homeporting year round in this market.
At 323 metres in length and with 2100 guest rooms, the new ship will be a game changer for Australian cruising. Built specifically for modern Australia, it will offer itineraries from three to 10 days duration.
The addition of the new P&O Cruises’ ship forms part of a global announcement made overnight by P&O Cruises’ parent company, Carnival Corporation.
Heralding in the new year, Carnival Corporation has signed a memo of agreement with Italian shipbuilder Fincantieri to build four new cruise ships for its global fleet.
As the world’s largest travel and leisure company, Carnival Corporation has an existing fleet of 99 cruise ships and a total of 17 new ships scheduled for delivery between 2016 and 2020.
The newbuild P&O Cruises’ ship will be based year round in Australia, capturing forecast further growth in the local cruise market and reaffirming P&O’s 84-year national maritime heritage.
Carnival Australia Executive Chairman Ann Sherry and P&O Cruises Australia President Sture Myrmell hailed the first ‘newbuild’ cruise ship for the Australian market as the best possible good news for one of the world’s top performing cruise markets.
"The much anticipated first newbuild cruise ship is a huge vote of confidence in the Australian cruise market with much of the 20 per cent year-on-year passenger growth over the past decade driven by P&O Cruises’ dynamic industry leadership," Ms Sherry said.
Mr Myrmell said the new ship added to P&O Cruises’ pattern of growth, with the recent addition of Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden to its three-ship fleet to be followed in 2017 with the addition of Pacific Explorer.
"P&O Cruises is the modern face of Australian cruising and, with such a proud heritage of leadership, it is a natural step to announce that the line will take delivery of its first newbuild ship," Mr Myrmell said.
Mr Myrmell said details and features of the new ship will be revealed later but it will build on the continued evolution of the P&O Cruises’ brand and will reflect the tastes of modern Australia.
The new ship is just one of many P&O firsts in its development as Australia’s most trusted cruise line as confirmed over three consecutive years in the Reader’s Digest annual trusted brands survey.
These firsts include:
- The pioneer of Australian cruising with P&O Strathaird operating the first South Pacific cruise from Australia in 1932.
- The introduction of Pacific Dawn in 2007, the first superliner to be based year round in Australia, later to be joined by Pacific Jewel and Pacific Pearl.
- The 2015 milestone of four million cruise passengers since the resumption of post war cruising.
- The largest fleet of cruise ships based year round in Australia with the November 2015 addition of Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden.
- A proud history of opening up regional Australia to cruising with ports such as Mooloolaba, Cairns and Gladstone in Queensland now benefitting from regular visits from P&O ships.