Listen up Melbournians!

In the announcement of its extensive 2012/13 cruise season, P&O Cruises revealed this morning that it will operate a ship out of Melbourne for seven cruises from late 2012, as well as 36 departures from Brisbane.

It’s welcome news for the thousands of Victorians who constantly express their frustration at not having the choice of cruising from their doorsteps more often.

“Having to depend on flights to Sydney, sometimes also requiring accommodation, and waiting around for the return flights home has become less acceptable,” wrote Cruise Passenger reader Michael Scotter.

Other exciting news for the season is that, due to high demand from Australian passengers, the line will operate 24 cruises of less than a week’s duration out of the record total of 126 departures.

P&O Cruises was quick to add that this includes more themed cruises, which proved popular this year. Australia Day, Christmas shopping, food and wine, and comedy cruises are all part of the line-up that goes on sale on March 31.

Some highlights of the season include maiden visits to Port Lincoln and Kangaroo Island on board Pacific Sun, and Pacific Jewel and Pacific Dawn cruises that will have a perfect view of the total solar eclipse in November 2012.

Australian passengers will also have the chance to celebrate the 175th anniversary of P&O Cruises, then known as the Peninsula Steam Navigation Company, on August 22 when Pacific Jewel and Pacific Pearl rendezvous in Sydney Harbour before embarking on P&O heritage-themed cruises.