Another cruise ship is resuming service in Australia today as the Pacific Encounter welcomes guests onboard for its maiden voyage for P&O Cruises Australia, a Carnival Corporation brand.
Formerly operated by Princess Cruises, the 2,600-guest vessel is kicking off its first sailing for P&O Cruises Australia in Brisbane.
A seven-day voyage, the “Barrier Reef Discovery” cruise features visits two different destinations in Northern Australia, including Cairns – where the Encounter is set for a long, 48-hour stop.
Before returning to Brisbane, the 109,000-ton ship will also sail by the remote Willis Island.
According to P&O, the scenic cruising around the uninhabited small islands and islets of the region allows guests to contemplate and marvel the nature and its sights.
Continuing its inaugural season, the Pacific Encounter will offer additional departures from Brisbane through December.
While several domestic ports are included in the itineraries over the next few months, the vessel will also offer international cruising starting in October, with cruises visiting Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia and more.
Originally named Star Princess, the Pacific Encounter was built in 2002. Transferred to P&O Australia during the pandemic, the vessel was subjected to a major refurbishment before arriving in Australia.
According to its new operator, the work included important technical upgrades as well as other enhancements such as upgraded hotel facilities and interior furnishings.
During the refit, most of the public areas have also been redesigned, receiving what P&O calls a “stylish modern Australian décor with quirky features.”
Popular dining outlets have been added as well, including the Waterfront Restaurant, the Dragon Lady and Angelo’s – a Italian venue that sports iconic Sophia Loren artworks and beautiful drapery.
On the external side, the vessel received P&O’s iconic red, white and blue bow livery depicting the Southern Cross.
Following the Pacific Explorer, which welcomed guests in May, the Pacific Encounter became the second ship to resume service for P&O Australia since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Launching service on October 22, the Pacific Adventure will mark the restart of the company’s entire three-ship fleet.