P&O introduces Your Choice Cruising

P&O Cruises is celebrating 75 years of cruising from Australia with the launch of a range of exciting new cruise options, including a new season of Asian cruises from Singapore and the introduction of the ground-breaking personalised cruising concept, “Your Choice Cruising”.The initiatives further cement P&O Cruises’ commitment to the Australian market and build on its decision to introduce Australia’s first superliner, the stunning 70,000-ton Pacific Dawn, to its fleet next year.

The debut of the 2050-passenger Pacific Dawn, which will be the biggest and most modern cruise ship to be based year round in Australia, will increase P&O Cruises Australia’s fleet capacity by 65 per cent.  Pacific Dawn will sail alongside P&O Cruises’ existing cruise ships, the 1900-passenger Pacific Sun and the 1350-passenger Pacific Star.

P&O Cruises Australia Managing Director Gavin Smith said the introduction of Pacific Dawn and the launch of the new Asian itineraries and “Your Choice Cruising” reflected the growing popularity of cruise holidays.

“As we enter our 75th year of cruising from Australia, an increasing number of Australian holidaymakers are discovering the pleasures of cruising.  It’s this strong demand that’s prompted us to increase our fleet size and extend our range of cruise options.”

Mr Smith said Pacific Star would be based in Singapore for an extensive season of seven-night Asia cruises from April to October 2008, visiting a range of stunning destinations in Malaysia, Thailand and Cambodia.

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The cruises, which will depart each Saturday, will offer Australians a great way to experience the exotic culture of Asia while enjoying all the comforts of their “home away from home” Pacific Star.

The ship’s ‘Western Tropics’ cruise will feature visits to Kuala Lumpur, Penang and Langkawi and Malacca in Malaysia as well as Phuket in Thailand. The ‘Eastern Sunsets’ itinerary includes visits to the idyllic Thai ports of Koh Samui and Hua Hin as well as the Thai capital of Bangkok and exotic Sihanoukville in Cambodia. The two different itineraries can also be combined for an amazing 14-night voyage with 10 different ports of call.

Prices for a seven-night Asia cruise will start from $988 per person quad-share and $1524 per person twin-share.

The debut of Pacific Dawn in October 2007 will also mark the launch of “Your Choice Cruising”, which will transform the concept of cruising in Australia.

“From the moment they book their holiday, passengers will experience the change,” Mr Smith said.

“They will be able to select their cabin from a wide range of options, including Pacific Dawn’s affordable private balcony staterooms.  They will also be able to choose when, where and with whom they dine each evening and enjoy a wide variety of entertainment.”

Pacific Dawn will offer five dining choices, from the refined Palm Court dining room, Bravo’s Trattoria, CafĂ© del Sol Bistro and the Steakhouse to casual on-deck barbecues.  Entertainment will include spectacular Broadway-style production shows in the International Show Lounge and cabaret performances in the ship’s signature Dome.

Designed by famous Italian architect Renzo Piano, Pacific Dawn features more than 180 affordable balcony cabins and is identifiable by her unique dolphin-like prow and distinctive domed observation lounge.

Mr Smith said Pacific Dawn’s Sydney deployment opened the way for Pacific Sun to be moved to Brisbane from November 2007, replacing the smaller Pacific Star and increasing capacity in the Queensland market by 40 per cent.

Meanwhile Pacific Star will add a summer season of cruises from Auckland to complement the annual New Zealand winter deployment.

“In 2003 P&O Cruises Australia carried about 50,000 passengers and visited around 20 destinations. By 2008, we’ll be carrying 150,000 passengers a year and offering cruises to more than 60 ports,” Mr Smith said.

He said the decision of P&O Cruises’ sister line, Princess Cruises, to deploy its 2000-passenger Sun Princess in Australia over the summer of 2007-2008, replacing the smaller 670-passenger Pacific Princess, was further testimony to the continued growth of the Australian cruise market.  Like Pacific Princess, the ship will feature dining and entertainment tailored for Australians with an onboard currency of Australian dollars.

“Like travellers around the world, more and more Australian holidaymakers are realising that cruising is a great way to travel. You just relax and enjoy shipboard life while the destinations come to you.”
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