Pacific Dawn made her inaugural visit to Newcastle sooner than expected after Cyclone Ita forced the ship to reroute her itinerary.

The ship was scheduled to depart from Brisbane last Saturday for a Queensland coastal cruise, but P&O decided to send her south to Newcastle and Hunter Valley to avoid the threat of severe weather conditions.

As a result, Pacific Dawn made her maiden visit to the port, ahead of her scheduled first visit in March next year.

P&O Cruises spokesperson David Jones said: “Our passengers had a great choice of local shore excursions including tours of the city and Fort Scratchley military museum, dolphin watching at Port Stephens and a Hunter Valley wine tour.”

Pacific Dawn returned to Newcastle this morning and will depart around 6pm, heading north to Moreton Island off Queensland’s coast before returning home to Brisbane on Saturday.