P&O Australia Cancels Visit to New Caledonia

Pacific Encounter

P&O Cruises Australia is cancelling the Pacific Encounter’s visits to New Caledonia that were scheduled for late June.

According to a statement sent to booked guests, the change affects the June 22, 2024 sailing, which is now set to visit different islands in the South Pacific.

“Unfortunately, due to recent civil unrest, we are no longer able to visit Noumea or Lifou,” P&O Cruises Australia said.

Sailing from Brisbane on June 22, the Pacific Encounter was scheduled to visit Noumea and Lifou as part of a seven-night cruise.

In addition to three days at sea, the original itinerary also included a nine-hour visit to Port Vila in Vanuatu.

“Everyone’s safety is our priority and unfortunately, we have no choice other than to make these changes. We know you were looking forward to the original itinerary we had planned and share your disappointment for this unexpected change,” the company said.

To provide passengers with “the best possible experience,” P&O Australia is adding a full day visit to Vanuatu’s Mystery Island to the Encounter’s June 22 sailing, the statement added.

As part of the change, the ship is now scheduled to leave from Brisbane on June 22 one hour later, at 3:00 pm. Encounter’s return to its Australian homeport was also altered and is now set to take place at 7:00 am on June 29.

Pre-paid shore excursions for Noumea and Lifou will be refunded to their original method of payment, P&O Australia added in the statement.

“Our thoughts are with the communities of New Caledonia at this time,” the company said.

Sailing from Brisbane on a year-round basis, the Pacific Encounter offers three- to ten-night cruises to destinations in Australia and the South Pacific, such as Airlie Beach, Cairns, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Fiji and Tonga.

Formerly operated by Princess Cruises, the 110,000-ton ship originally entered service in 2002 as the Star Princess.

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