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Raising the bar – inside the new Pacific Encounter, which sails into Sydney on August 2

P&O Australia’s fleet will be doubled next month with the arrival of  Pacific Encounter, which sailed from Singapore on her way to Australia.

The 2,600-guest vessel  will sail into Sydney Harbour on August 2 to join Pacific Explorer before heading to Brisbane, where she will be based at the new cruise terminal.

President of Carnival Australia and P&O Cruises Australia Marguerite Fitzgerald said Pacific Encounter’s arrival would be another step towards the rebuilding of Australia’s cruise industry.

“Knowing that we have a second P&O ship only weeks away reminds us all that cruising is making a return to normal scheduling,” Ms Fitzgerald said. “It is hard to believe that as warmer weather returns, Australia is now on the way to having a near normal 2022-23 summer cruise season.”

She added: “We can’t wait for Pacific Encounter to depart on her first guest cruise from Brisbane on August 20, a 7-night Barrier Reef Discovery Cruise. This itinerary will include Pacific Encounters’ maiden call to Cairns helping to bring cruise tourism back to Far North Queensland.”

During her recent ‘wet dock’ in Trieste, Pacific Encounter received her P&O transformation. This included the creation of its multi-storey atrium and the addition of new dining outlets from Australian chef and restaurateur, Luke Mangan, and award-winning Melbourne chef Johnny Di Francesco.

The Encounter Hotel, which sits on Deck 7, has undergone one of the biggest transformations  – which were inspired by Sydney’s pub scene.

Locally sourced art has been combined with banquette seating with custom fabrics and a modern colour scheme to create a welcome venue which will be the go-to choice for guests who enjoy competing in trivia or karaoke; or simply savouring the vast menu of draft beers, boutique ales and ciders. 

The bar has plenty of bar stools and a light atmosphere and booths for guests who favour privacy.

The Lobby on Deck 5 is a new addition to the ship with Avalon Cafe for a morning coffee and casual dining, Charlie’s Bar for cocktails and Lilly’s with brilliant views. At night time, Lilly’s is transformed into a Piano bar where the pianist will take requests and invite guests to sing along.

The Bonded Store bar has been upgraded to have a cosy atmosphere interspersed with quirky decor and vintage appeal. Cocktails, gin and whiskey are available.

The Blue Room is inspired by New Orleans speakeasies and has delightful velvet brass furnishings and low lights for a dramatic effect. Guests can admire the artwork that shows musical instruments, with the bar expected to continue its reputation for hosting some of Australia’s best soul, jazz, funk, R&B and blues musicians. You’ll see vintage items such as a typewriter and plaid wallpaper.

The Ocean Bar takes its character from a living room and is intended to make guests feel at home where they can relax. The Ocean Bar is filled with lounge chairs, sofas and forest green, with plants set by the windows and on the small glass tables.

At the top of the ship, on Deck 18 is Altitude which offers amazing ocean views. With a blue and white nautical colour scheme, you can pass the time with a book or a casual catch-up with friends. At night time the bar changes into a nightclub where guests can dance the night away.

The first departure is next month on August 20, on a seven-night cruise to the Great Barrier Reef departing from Brisbane, which will be the ship’s home.

Previously, Pacific Encounter was in service as Star Princess.

The 2,636-passenger Pacific Adventure is due later this year.