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Aria and Eden christened by P&O Cruises Australia

The public has spoken for P&O's new ships

P&O Cruises Australia has officially named the two new ships joining its local fleet, all thanks to the general public. 
 
Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden were chosen via Facebook, with more than 30,000 suggestions coming from Australia and New Zealand
 
The announcement was made via 20-metre wide mural by Port Macquarie artist Chloe Dickey, 24, on Bondi Beach, with a fascinated crowd watching on. She had to perfectly time the display with the tides and swell. 
 

Cruise fans have their say

Eden came from Nikki Smith of Cairns, while Aria was submitted by Perth woman Katie Luxa. Both have won a cruise for two on the first voyage of the ships they named. They can also attend their respective naming celebrations. 
 
Carnival Australia (who operate P&O Cruises) CEO Ann Sherry said the Facebook feedback was remarkable.
 
"We were overwhelmed by the volume of suggestions from Aussies and Kiwis who wanted to put their stamp on our latest ships, which we hope will become as adored as our current fleet."
 
"With ethereal and heavenly undertones, we thought Aria and Eden conjured up the happy, blissful and indulgent spirit of our cruise holidays, which offer the chance to escape the everyday world."
 

Expanding the fleet in November 2015

 It was big news back in May 2014 when P&O announced the two new ships were joining the Australasian fleet from sister brand Holland America. They were originally sailing as ms Ryndam and ms Statendam and will join the other current P&O cruise ships in November 2015:
 
As part of the Carnival Group, there will now be 12 ships home-ported in Australia. 
 
The new ships will most likely be focused on short-break cruises, including destinations such as Asia and Papua New Guinea, with more details announced very soon. It's the only fleet which cruises exclusively in this part of the world. 
 

More people cruising Down Under

Recent industry figures showed a massive boost in cruise passenger numbers in both Australia and New Zealand. A record 833,348 Aussies took a cruise trip in 2013, up 20% on 2012. Meanwhile, 59,316 New Zealanders took a cruise last year, with a growth rate of 23% - the highest year-on-year increase in the world. The figures came from the Cruise Industry Source Market Report for both countries. 
 
Other names that didn't quite make the cut included Skippy, Crikey, Kylie, Dani and Kiri Te Kanawa, while ironically Eden is actually one of the regional ports on the cruise lines newest itineraries. 

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