Newcastle’s popularity as an emerging cruise destination is evident with Pacific Aria’s maiden call to the port city. Three ships from P&O’s Cruises have included Newcastle as a port call between November 2015 and May 2016 summer cruise season.

On a five night-roundtrip from Brisbane, Newcastle’s visit is part of Pacific Aria’s first Australia Day Cruise, which also included a day in Sydney Harbour on January 26, 2016. Weighing 55,820 tonne, P&O cruises latest ship Pacific Aria is expected to bring $ 300,000 into the local economy; when the ship docked at Channel Berth, 1500 guests explored the surrounding areas like Stockton’s sand dunes, dolphin cruises at Port Stephen and food and wine tasting tours of the Hunter Valley.

Pacific Aria leaves Newcastle on 27 January evening, returning again on March 2, 2016 for a four-night Newcastle cruise from Brisbane.

P&O Cruises Australia President Sture Myrmell said Newcastle was an increasingly popular call for P&O following the expansion of its fleet last year, which had opened up new itinerary opportunities.

“Newcastle has a lot to offer our guests, from its beautiful beaches to the nearby Hunter Valley wine region. Its location between Melbourne and Brisbane makes it an ideal destination for our increasingly popular short breaks, providing a great way for holidaymakers from Victoria and Queensland to enjoy a long weekend indulging in some of the best food and wine Australia has to offer both onboard our ships and in the Hunter region,” Mr Myrmell said.

Pacific Aria and sister ship Pacific Eden feature the cruise line’s first Cellar Door which offers a taste of the Hunter Valley at sea with an exclusive Glandore Estate wine tasting experience. Glandore is one of four Hunter Valley wineries featured on P&O ships, with wines from Margan, Cockfighter’s Ghost and Tyrell’s also offered onboard.