(3:07 a.m. AEST) -- P&O Cruises Australia announced it will receive two vessels from Princess Cruises ahead of schedule, arriving down under in time for a spring 2021 debut.
In 2018, Princess announced it would transition the 2001-built Golden Princess and its 2002-built sister, Star Princess, to sister-brand P&O Cruises Australia. Golden Princess, renamed Pacific Adventure, will begin sailing from Sydney on April 30, 2021, while the delivery of Pacific Encounter -- formerly Star Princess -- is being accelerated by at least six months, debuting in Brisbane on May 7, 2021.
P&O Cruises Australia hinted that additional voyages aboard Pacific Encounter could be added even earlier, pending the approval for the resumption of cruise in Australia.
Both vessels will sail alongside current P&O flagship Pacific Explorer next year.
“The arrival of these much-anticipated ships, Pacific Adventure and Pacific Encounter, in the first half of next year represents a step-change for the fleet and a sign of confidence in the market,” P&O Cruises Australia President Sture Myrmell said.
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“This investment in our fleet is a demonstration that P&O Cruises Australia is ready to lead the industry in bouncing back when government and public health authorities agree it is appropriate to begin sailing again with protocols in place."
While Golden Princess had already been removed from Princess Cruises' active fleet, Star Princess was scheduled to continue sailing in 2021 to destinations including Hawaii, the Mexican Riviera, and one Pacific Coastal repositioning voyage to Vancouver.
“Golden Princess and Star Princess have sailed all over the world, creating lifelong memories for the millions of guests who sailed upon these beloved cruise ships,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises president.
“We know their wonderful legacy will continue under sister brand P&O Cruises Australia, which has become so well-known for delivering unforgettable cruise holidays for Aussies and Kiwis to some of the most idyllic destinations in the South Pacific.”
The ships are the latest to bid farewell to the Princess Cruises fleet following the departures of Sun and Sea Princess, which were announced in September.