P&O Cruises will add another 2,000 beds to its fleet in 2017 when Princess Cruises’ Dawn Princess joins the line. The new ship will bring the total fleet to six with 10,750 beds available.

The move was announced earlier this week, with Carnival Australia citing increased demand for cruise holidays in local waters and continued investment in the P&O Cruises brand. Dawn Princess will be P&O’s largest ship, weighing in at 77,441 tonnes, just a touch larger than Pacific Dawn. The ship will be fully refurbished and renamed before she is relaunched.

This puts P&O hot on the heels of the largest fleet in Australian waters, operated by Royal Caribbean. In the 2016/2017 season Royal Caribbean will have five ships deployed here (including the new megaliner Ovation of the Seas) with more than 17,000 beds.

To replace Dawn Princess, which is permanently homeported in Sydney, Princess Cruises will keep Golden Princess in Australia year-round. The 2,600-passenger ship will sail alongside sister ships Sun and Sea Princess, bringing the Princess total to more than local 6,500 beds.

Stuart Allison,Vice President of Princess Cruises Australia and New Zealand, told Cruise Passenger that a new ship will also be joining the Princess fleet in 2017. The as yet unnamed vessel will be a sister ship to Royal and Regal Princess, the latest generation of Princess ships, and will be deployed in China for her first season.