Pacific Aria will set sail for Greece following her sale to Seajets’ Marios Iliopoulos after the sale to British line CMV fell through, bringing her departure forward from the P&O fleet.
The much-loved ship will leave the fleet after five years, as early as next month in a transfer to Marios Iliopoulos, CEO at SeaJets, a high-speed ferry service across Greece.
She will make the short trip over from Cyprus, six months ahead of the departure previously scheduled in line with a CMV sale.
Built in 1994 as Holland America Line’s Ryndam, Pacific Aria will join her sisterships P&O’s Oceana, now Queen of Queens, and HALs Maasdam and Veendam now Aegan Myth and Aegan Majesty respectively as the fourth purchase by Mr Iliopoulos this year.
The purchases were through a Greece based shipbroker called Masters Shipping. The first buy was Oceana (built 2000) in June, followed by Veendam (1996) and then Maasdam (1993) in August.
Eyebrows have been raised about Mr Iliopoulos’ intentions with the beloved outcast Carnival Line ships as the Seajets does not currently run any cruise itineraries.
In October 2019, Mr Iliopoulos was found by a London Judge to have orchestrated a plan to have men posing as pirates to attack and set fire to his tanker, Brillante Virtuoso in an elaborate fraud to seek $77 million in insurance money.
It is likely the Pacific Aria will be sold on again at a later date if not refitted and used.
P&O Cruises Australia President Sture Myrmell said Pacific Aria had made more than 220 voyages since joining the fleet and made a spectacular arrival with the fleet’s five-ship sail-in to Sydney Harbour in November 2015.
“Like Pacific Dawn whose sale we also recently announced, Pacific Aria was a great favourite with our guests,” Mr Myrmell said.
“Aria might have been with us for just five years but she is no less prominent in our affection and respect for her contribution to P&O and cruising.”
In her five years with P&O, Pacific Aria sailed 455,351 nautical miles, which is the equivalent travelling to the moon and back, or sailing 21 times around the Equator. Her most visited port was Brisbane, with 183 port visits and turnarounds.