Pacific Explorer made history when it was the first international cruise ship to return to Australian shores, but it’s not done with its history making season.
As reported in Cruise Passenger at the start of the month, the Port of Auckland is planning a big Kiwi welcome with water cannon and crowds.
She’ll now be leaving on August 8 to sail to Auckland and two ports in Fiji, marking the first cruises back to both of the countries since cruise operations paused over two years ago.
It will also mark P&O’s first visit to an international port since the cruise suspension, with Australian sailing being limited to domestic itineraries until now.
Pacific Explorer will leave Sydney on August 12, before visiting Lautoka on August 15 and Dravuni on August 16.
“Our guests have been looking forward to again being able to visit magical destinations in the Pacific,” said President of P&O Cruises Australia Marguerite Fitzgerald.
“We now see the pathway back to cruising in our beautiful part of the world and I am sure our guests on this cruise will enjoy being part of cruising’s return to New Zealand and Fiji.”
P&O Cruises also looks forward to eventually returning to Vanuatu and New Caledonia.
New Zealand is hoping to begin its climb back as a favoured destination.
Viking is sending two ships, the Neptune and Mars, and Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth is expected for New Year’s Eve. Viking has joined the New Zealand Cruise Association as a show of faith.
Mr O’Sullivan said that there were around 875 booked port calls – down from the 1,100 two years ago but recovering. And New Zealanders are keen to cruise, with many of them booking cruises around their own country.