The long-serving Pacific Pearl is a beloved old friend to many Australian and Kiwi cruisers, having sailed in the P&O Cruises Australia fleet since 2010. The line announced today (not without sadness) that they are preparing to farewell the Pearl in late March next year.
A real pearler
The Pacific Pearl began life as the Sitmar FairMajesty in 1988, but before starting her Sitmar career the company was taken over by P&O's Princess Cruises division and the ship instead sailed as the Star Princess. Her next incarnation was as the Arcadia for P&O UK, sailing from Southampton.
In 2003, the Arcadia was transferred to P&O's new Ocean Village brand, a fun new line aimed at a younger demographic. It was there that she received her fun and casual layout, one which served her well after leaving Ocean Village and entering the P&O Australia fleet in 2010.
Since joining her current family of Aussie-based ships, the Pacific Pearl has sailed in and around Australia from many ports, recently spending some time each year being based out of Auckland also. Countless cruisers have set sail aboard her, and made precious memories during their fun cruise holidays.
The team at Cruise Sale Finder has certainly had some great times aboard this wonderful ship!
Bright future for P&O Cruises
Although the line is sad to see the Pacific Pearl go, her departure does not signify a decline for P&O - in fact, it leaves room for bigger and newer vessels. The Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden joined the fleet last year, a pair of dark-hulled smaller vessels who have greatly expanded the variety of itineraries offered. In 2017, the Dawn Princess will transfer from Princess to become the Pacific Explorer, adding a significant capacity to P&O's current numbers and becoming the largest ship in the fleet - for a brief time!
The most exciting Australia cruising news this year, which indicates a very rosy future projected at P&O, is that of a new-build addition to the fleet arriving in 2019. Details are not yet released, but the brand-new vessel will cater to the modern Aussie cruiser. It will also carry more than 4,000 passengers, hugely expanding the line's capabilities.
Passengers booked on a Pacific Pearl itinerary after the 27th of March 2017 will be refunded completely or be rebooked (after consultation) onto an equivalent cruise. Feeling nostalgic? You can book one last cruise on the Pacific Pearl here.
Have you sailed on the Pacific Pearl? We'd love to hear your memories of this special ship as she enters her final year of cruising for P&O!