P&O Cruises is preparing to send its five-ship fleet off in style from Sydney this evening after a history-making day which saw its two latest ships – Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden – christened in the middle of the harbour.
Captain pics show (left to right):
Pacific Aria – Captain Colm Ryan
Pacific Jewel – Captain Gavin Pears
Pacific Pearl – Captain Jon-Paul Bryant
Pacific Dawn – Captain Lorenzo Paoletti
Pacific Eden – Captain Chris Norman
An eight-minute fireworks display will light up the sky above the harbour at 8.45pm before all five ships depart, with an estimated 9000 guests onboard taking part in the biggest white party at sea.
The harbour foreshore, including Mrs Macquarie’s Chair, will offer the best viewing with the fireworks set to launch about 100m west of Fort Denison. Sydneysiders are urged to use public transport and travel early as parking will be limited.
This afternoon, guests onboard P&O’s ships will enjoy a series of live concerts from more than 25 music acts from 4pm to 8.30pm, including headline performances from some of the hottest acts in Australia – Jessica Mauboy (Pacific Aria), The Veronicas (Pacific Eden), Justice Crew (Pacific Jewel), Samantha Jade (Pacific Pearl), and Stan Walker (Pacific Dawn).
Earlier in the day, P&O marked the debut of its latest ships with a social media naming ceremony, which saw popular Australian singer Jessica Mauboy and actress Kate Ritchie simultaneously christen Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden via Twitter as the two vessels sailed either side of Fort Denison.
Reflecting Australians’ love of social media and cruising, the ships’ godmothers both tweeted a short message declaring the ships named, while Jessica Mauboy also sang the national anthem.
The history-making gathering of five cruise ships from one fleet on the harbour was watched by thousands of Sydneysiders on the foreshore and on small boats.
Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia which operates P&O Cruises, said the event marked a new era for P&O, Australia’s only homegrown cruise line, which has increased its fleet to five ships in response to increasing demand for cruise holidays.
“P&O Cruises has been sailing from Australia for more than 80 years so we are thrilled to be able to celebrate the expansion of our fleet with so many Sydneysiders today,” Ms Sherry said.
“The addition of Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden represents a 50 per cent expansion in our guest capacity and heralds a new look and feel for our cruise line, inspired by modern Australia.”
Designed to be game changers for the Australian cruise industry, both ships offer a relaxed vibe in a contemporary and stylish setting unlike any other ship operating in Australian waters.