P&O Australia has announced it has found a new buyer for the Pacific Aria, and the vessel will leave the fleet as early as next month.
The announcement means P&O will have an almost completely refreshed fleet once cruising resumes, with only the flagship Pacific Explorer remaining.
Pacific Dawn’s departure has already been announced – she is going to become a retail, hotel and event venue in Panama.
Pacific Adventure and Pacific Encounter will join the Australian fleet next year. They are newer and larger vessels, meaning P&O will maintain its capacity but with fewer ships.
There will also be new innovations aboard the fleet, like the Byron Beach Club.
The 1,260-guest Pacific Aria was to be sold to CMV, the British cruise line which is in administration. Her new buyer has yet to be named.
The Aria has sailed 455,351 nautical miles, which is the equivalent to the moon and back, or 21 times around the Equator.
She showcased P&O’s new look interiors when she was launched on Sydney Harbour in 2015, when P&O’s then five-strong fleet were in Sydney at once.
P&O Cruises Australia President Sture Myrmell said Pacific Aria had made more than 220 voyages since joining the fleet.
“Like Pacific Dawn whose sale we also recently announced, Pacific Aria was a great favourite with our guests,” he said.
He added: “There is much to look forward to as we keep transforming our fleet in readiness for welcoming Pacific Adventure and Pacific Encounter”.
P&O said Pacific Aria’s new owner will confirm its purchase in a separate announcement.
Guests who were booked on Pacific Aria from 18 December can choose alternative arrangements including a full refund or bonus onboard credit if they choose the future cruise credit option. Guests on select cruises can opt to move their booking to the same time next year and receive bonus onboard credit.
P&O will pay refunds back to travel agents for guests who booked through that sales channel. The cruise line will also protect travel agent commissions on all bookings for cancelled cruises that were paid in full as at 14 October, 2020 and for the total amount of the future cruise credits.
The cruise line will make contact with guests whose cruises have been affected, either directly or via their appointed travel agent, to let them know of this development and the options available to them.
Mr Myrmell apologised to guests for this inconvenience, acknowledging how challenging it had been given the continued extension of the operational pause since March.