P&O Cruises has announced major transformation plans to their 2021 fleet, including two new ships.

The itineraries include the maiden season for Pacific Encounter, the line newest ship which will be homeported in Brisbane. Another Brisbane based ship Pacific Explorer will also include a short season from Cairns in 2021.

Meanwhile, Sydney will see another new ship,  Pacific Adventure continue to attract record numbers of families.

Pacific Encounter

The Encounter will offer a total 11 cruises to South Pacific Islands and Queensland coastal destinations. They include three and four-night short breaks to seven-night itineraries for Pacific Island Hopper cruises and Barrier Reef Discovery cruises. Queenslanders also have the option join the ship’s inaugural cruise from Singapore on November 11, 2021 and sail into their home city.

“By the time Pacific Encounter joins the fleet in late 2021, P&O Cruises will have carried two million guests on itineraries departing from Brisbane and our commitment to providing Queenslanders with memorable Australian cruise holidays doesn’t stop there,” Mr Myrmell said.

“P&O has an unrivalled long-standing history with Queensland so it is fitting that we continue to build on that story by bringing our newest ship to Brisbane for her maiden season.”

Pacific Explorer

The Pacific Explorer which is mostly Brisbane based will also be sailing four cruises from Cairns beginning November 9 and returns to Brisbane December 4. This includes a 10-night itinerary to the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea and three dedicated cruises to the colourful, cultural and tropical paradise of PNG calling at Alotau, Kitava Island, Rabaul, Kiriwina Island and the Conflict Islands.

Pacific Adventure

The Pacific Adventure arriving in 2020, is set to welcome a record number of families onboard with new attractions like the dual-racing waterslide.

In 2021, the line expands options for families further with their biggest ever choice of school holiday itineraries and cabin configurations.

This includes five-berth family cabins, Family Suites that sleep up to eight guests and a record number of interconnecting rooms.

The line says that it offers ‘something for everyone’ from children to the young-at-heart.

“It makes it even easier for Aussie families to take a cruise holiday together because there is so much choice once you are on-board,” says P&O Cruises President Sture Myrmell.

“We know that families like to travel together and celebrate big moments but they also like their freedom to have a kind of mini-holiday within a holiday.

“They get to spend time with each other and reconnecting but, at the same time, there is so much variety in food, entertainment and activities that they can also do their own thing when it suits.”

There will be six school holiday cruises to New Caledonia and Vanuatu itineraries spanning 8 to 10-nights in duration and two cruises celebrating Christmas and New Year’s Eve.

The itineraries also feature longer sailings from Sydney to the South Pacific and Queensland Islands, Short Breaks including themed comedy cruises and Main Events to the Australian Open and Australia Day celebrations in Sydney Harbour.

Read: Major changes will see P&O cruises transformed in the next two years

Highlights of P&O’s school holiday cruises include:


Six school holiday cruises to New Caledonia and Vanuatu itineraries spanning 8 to 10-nights in duration and two cruises celebrating Christmas and New Year’s Eve.


Six 7 to 9-night school holiday cruises and a 4-night sailing to the Whitsunday Islands on P&O’s newest ship Pacific Encounter.


A variety of itineraries to Tasmania and South Australia including an 8-night Christmas cruise, an 11-night New Year’s Eve sailing to New Zealand and a 12-night cruise to the South Pacific Islands.

Bookings for cruises during the school holiday period are available now and include a 9-night Christmas sailing on Pacific Encounter to the South Pacific Islands from Brisbane departing December 18, 2021. Fares start from $1424 per person for an interior quad share cabin.

Highlights of Pacific Encounter’s maiden season from Brisbane include:

  • Two popular 7-night Pacific Island Hopper cruises departing on a Saturday and calling at destinations including Mystery Island and Lifou
  • Three 7-night Barrier Reef Discovery cruises also departing on Saturday and visiting Airlie Beach, Cairns, Port Douglas and Willis Island
  • A 3-night themed comedy Short Break cruise taking place over a weekend
  • Two 4-night cruises to the Whitsunday Islands stopping at Airlie Beach
  • Two Main Event cruises included a 9-night Christmas itinerary calling at Noumea, Mare, Port Vila and Santo and an 8-night New Year’s Even cruise calling at Mystery Island, Port Vila and Santo

Bookings on Pacific Encounter cruises departing Brisbane are available now and include a 7-night Pacific Island Hopper departing December 4, 2021. Fares start from $759 per person for an inside quad share cabin.