Australian & World Cruise News

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Please Note: Cruise-Australia and my other related maritime sites are 100% non-commercial and privately owned sites. Be assured that I am NOT associated with any of the cruise companies or any travel or cruise agencies. The author has been in the Passenger Shipping industry since 1960, and although now semi-retired, but I am delighted to share my knowledge with those who love to take their vacation at sea! Thus I continue to write on the various Cruise Companies and their ships in order to better to inform cruise and ship enthusiasts for their pleasure, but more so to ensure that you, my readers, and supporters will make the best-informed choice for your next cruise!

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Australian Cruise News

Covering NEWS on Cruise Companies based in Australia year round

 And those based here or visiting our Ports during the Summer months!

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Carnival Corp Again Changes

P&O’s New Cruise Ship due in 2010

Background to Two Previous ships:

On December 31, 2015 P&O Cruises made the following astonishing announcement;

“P&O Cruises Australia is kicking off the New Year with a major announcement that it will make history by becoming the first cruise line to build a new ship specifically for the Australian market.

The cruise line said the 135,500-tonne ship would be the biggest cruise ship ever to be based fulltime in Australia, carrying more than 4200 guests.

To be launched in 2019, the new ship will have double the capacity of the biggest cruise vessel currently home porting year round in this market.

At 323 metres in length and with 2100 guest rooms, the new ship will be a game changer for Australian cruising. Built specifically for modern Australia, it will offer itineraries from three to 10 days duration.”

This was the possible design of the ship being built

Obviously, all in the trade, including the author was excited, for finally for the very first time, Carnival in the United States, would not treat this record breaking company like a lesser class part of their corporation, for they had always given P&O old hand me downs!

When I first heard about a new ship for P&O, I named their new flagship “Pacific Navigator,” which I believe is the perfect name for her … BUT sadly, it was NOT to BE!

Suddenly earlier this year, Carnival decided, with all their usual reasoning, that they would keep the new-build ship for themselves, and provide P&O with one of their current ships. Yes, I do mean another hand me down, but at least not as old as most in the past. This time it was the 2007 built 114,147 tonne Carnival Splendor, being a modified version of the Concordia-Class ships, operated by Costa Cruises who are part of the Carnival stable, and she had a passenger capacity from 3,012 to 3,780, pending on two bedded or all berth capacity. In 2020 she would have been 13 years old, which would have made her still the newest ship in the fleet.

The Carnival Splendor

The Ship that will NOW join P&O in 2020:

But once again on September 27, 2017 P&O Cruises made their third announcement that the Carnival Corporation had decided that the Carnival Splendor had also been retained to remain in their fleet; the following was part of their Media Release;

“As part of the strategic realignment, Carnival Splendor will remain within Carnival Cruise Line’s global fleet.”

However, their announcement was more focused at the Princess Cruises introduction of recent times regarding their innovative “Ocean Medallion” …

“P&O Cruises’ guests will be at the leading edge of a global revolution in the cruise experience when the line welcomes its first Ocean Medallion-enabled ship, Golden Princess to the brand in 2020.”

The Golden Princess seen from the air and she is packed with some of the most amazing facilities at sea!

Thus the news is that the Princess ship, being the 108,865 tonne MV Golden Princess will be transferred to P&O in 2020, which will make her almost 20 years old. Thus as always, every single ship in the P&O fleet, their new ship will also be a hand me down.

HOWEVER she is a Very Good Ship!

There is no doubt that the Golden Princess is a magnificent ship, and she will be very popular with the younger “cruiselings” and those who like a more modern style cruise ship! I sailed on her slightly larger sister the Diamond Princess in recent times, and I can honestly say that I had a wonderful time on her, and loved her overall layout.

The Golden Princess seen in Circular Quay at the International Cruise Terminal

In addition, just like the Dawn Princess, which is now the Pacific Explorer, the Golden Princess, which I hope will be named Pacific Navigator, will be completely renovated in the new style which P&O has so superbly created in 2015 on their signature ships the amazing Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden, for the Pacific Dawn and the Pacific Explorer both have received many of the features and styles that were introduced on these two fine ships!

The “Ocean Medallion” is a new enhanced cruise experience being a wearable device and it is powered by a first-of-its-kind interactive technology platform, to enable a level of service and personalisation never before considered possible. Order drinks, book optional restaurants, and many other options are available via this Medallion!

Let’s just call her the Pacific Navigator seen heading out on her next cruise, will you be on board?

At this time the Pacific Jewel is the oldest ship in the P&O fleet, and she will be a good 30 years of age in 2010, thus if she is to sail on with P&O, she will require upgrading and a massive refit before then, for she had not had one like the Pacific Dawn has received this year, in 2017.

The fully refitted MV Pacific Dawn is seen arriving at Brisbane


To view the Golden Princess as she is today, visit … MV Golden Princess


P&O Cruises Australia: MV Pacific Dawn / Pacific Jewel / MV Pacific Explorer, ex Dawn Princess

The Amazing P&O Cruise Ship the Pacific Aria: Read the Author’s 2016 & 2017 Cruise Reviews

I love the Pacific Aria so much I am going on 4 more cruises on her and in the same suite each time!



Princess Cruises Announces Majestic Princess to

Sail from Sydney during the 2018-2019 Summer


Majestic Princess seen at Monfalcone, Italy having been delivered to her owners

Photograph provided by & © Princess Cruises


In a major development for the local cruise industry, it was announced by Princess Cruises, on April 12, 2017 that their newest ship, the spectacular MV Majestic Princess will be based in Sydney Australia during the “austral summer season” from September 15, 2018 through to March 2019.

However, for full details there is a special announcement online via the Link below, there is also a comprehensive Two Page Feature covering the new Flagship of the fleet, with countless photographs of her spectacular facilities, a Deck Plan and her Accommodation details.

Official News Release Majestic Princess bound for Sydney


Then visit my Two Page Majestic Princess Feature




The “P&O Pacific Partnership” Expands their Reach in the

South Pacific with Two New Programs after $1m Raised in Contributions


Pacific Aria at anchor by an Island in Papua New Guinea in February 2017

Photograph taken by & © Mr. Hun-Eng Tan my travelling companion

The “P&O Pacific Partnership” is expanding its reach in the South Pacific with two new community programs, after surpassing a milestone of one million dollars in voluntary contributions from passengers and special donations in only four years.

Building on previous funding of health posts as well as kindergartens in Vanuatu, the two new projects are aimed at assisting women and young children in Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands, working in conjunction with Save the Children Australia.

Both the PNG and the Solomon’s receive regular cruise calls by P&O Cruises’ ships. In 2017 alone, 11 P&O cruises will visit Papua New Guinea, with three of those cruises visiting Gizo Island and Honiara in the Solomon’s.

In PNG particularly, there is a pressing need to improve health outcomes for mothers and children. The maternal mortality rate there is 30 times greater than in Australia with its highly developed health services. In the PNG, only 40 per cent of newborn deliveries are assisted by a skilled birth attendant, with the rates declining further in more rural areas of the country. The new Newborn Baby and Birthing Kits Project in PNG encourages mothers to have their babies delivered at health centres by helping to cover health facility medical fees and providing essential supplies such as infant care items and mosquito nets to combat the transmission of malaria to newborn babies.

In the Solomon Islands, P&O Cruises is now supporting the Solomon’s Early Childhood Development Project, which integrates child protection with community-based early childhood interventions to ensure children grow up in protective environments that enable them to realise their full potential. Many children in the Solomon Islands do not have access to early childhood education and development services, and enter school underprepared, often leading to longer term issues.

School children seen in the Solomon’s

Photograph provided by & © P&O Cruises & MG MEDIA

“Launching two new projects in the “P&O Pacific Partnership” is testament to the support and engagement of the thousands of guests who sail with us each year. It’s thanks to our passengers that we’re able to assist even more communities that we visit,” P&O Cruises President Sture Myrmell said. “The voluntary one dollar contributions made via passengers’ onboard accounts are relatively modest but when these contributions are combined they become a powerful force to make a big difference where it matters most.”

P&O originally formed its “Pacific Partnership” with Save the Children back in 2013.

“Since the partnership began, P&O passengers have helped to construct two new kindergartens and build or rehabilitate six health posts in Vanuatu, significantly improving the educational and health outcomes for many children and their families,” said Save the Children’s Vanuatu Country Director Georgia Tacey. “The latest fundraising projects will help to make a huge difference to the lives of pregnant women and provide primary and secondary aged school children with opportunities for a brighter future.”

A Mother and her child seen in Papua New Guinea

Photograph provided by & © P&O Cruises & MG MEDIA

Passengers directly contribute to the work carried out through an automatic $1 donation to their onboard account. This donation is for guests over the age of 18 on all cruises. Guests can choose to opt out of the program if they wish, or should they so wish, donate more, through the onboard donation boxes or through their onboard account. In addition, the Navigational chart from each voyage is auctioned at the end of every cruise with all proceeds going to Save the Children!

A Message by Cruise Australia’s author:

P&O Cruises Australia is a pioneer in the field in relation to the “Pacific Partnership” and taking care of children in the Pacific, and I am delighted with this news, considering that in February 2017 I personally enjoyed an amazing cruise on Pacific Aria to Papua New Guinea and saw the needs there, and now we hear this most welcome announcement made by P&O Cruises President Mr. Sture Myrmell.

It is simply amazing, for $1 may not sound very much per person, but it does adds up over a year, and if every passenger would only double their contribution how many more Mum’s and their children would benefit and have the opportunity to enjoy better health, schooling as well as receive a host of additional services! Please support this program when you are on a cruise of the Pacific Islands or Papua New Guinea, and remember double your contribution, or more if you so desire. Thank you and happy cruising!

Reuben Goossens. 

P&O Cruises Australia: MV Pacific Dawn / Pacific Jewel / MV Pacific Explorer, ex Dawn Princess

The Amazing P&O Cruise Ship the Pacific Aria: Read the Author’s 2016 & 2017 Cruise Reviews




MV Pacific Dawn has Received a Massive Makeover

The newly refitted Pacific Dawn is seen returning to Brisbane on March 16, 2017 from the Singapore shipyards

The Pacific Dawn is the first ship in the P&O fleet to feature the “Southern Cross Bow logo”

Photograph by © copyright James Morgan

July 18, 2016: P&O Cruises has underlined its commitment to the Queensland cruise market, announcing a major multi-million dollar refit for its Brisbane-based ship Pacific Dawn which will include a new state-of-the-art Waterpark.

The 2000-guest ship has been refurbished in February 2017, emerging from her Drydock with a stylish new look and a host of new features never before seen on a Queensland-based ship including an interactive kids-only play area, a Waterpark with two exhilarating Waterslides located aft of the ship.

The new Pool and Lido Deck with the Waterpark amidships under the canopy and the Waterslides can be seen far aft

The refit comes as P&O prepares for its biggest year of Queensland cruising, with two ships sailing from Brisbane year round. Between them, the MV Pacific Dawn and Pacific Aria will offer a record 108 cruises to holidaymakers in 2017, and that will be up from 98 cruises this year.

Maintaining the cruise line’s reputation for innovation, the Brisbane-based superliner will emerge with a complete revamp of the ships traditional buffet and she will come out with “The Pantry,” being a wonderful international market place full of fresh food outlets.

In addition to the tried and tested outlets that that has made this very special dining concept hugely popular, the Pacific Dawn’s Pantry will include a new Mediterranean-inspired offering called “Nic and Toni’s”. Also on offer will be the popular poolside Grill that will offer a range of casual dining options. 

Several of Pacific Dawn’s public spaces will be redesigned to mirror the striking contemporary look which has become a trademark of the P&O fleet including the Atrium, Charlie’s, The Orient and the Promenade Bar, which will be styled with similar décor to sister ships Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden.

Here we see and advance illustration of the refurbished Orient Bar

Please Note: New and actual photographs of her refurbishment can be seen on her NEW feature - Use the LINK below!

“The Dome” located far forward and topside has been completely refurbished, and this venue will offer more live music than ever before, as well as having a sophisticated new design. The Orient Bar will take on a bright new summer pub vibe, whilst the Promenade Bar has been transformed into a more intimate cocktail Lounge, the perfect venue to enjoy a delicious cocktail with friends whilst listening to live music.

P&O Cruises President Sture Myrmell said the refurbishment will kick off a big year for the Cruise Line in Queensland.

“With the new Waterpark, dining options and a refreshed interior design, we’re creating a great new look for Pacific Dawn which will combine some fun innovations with the winning features of our existing ships,” Mr Myrmell said. “There’s no question that Queenslanders love holidaying at sea with P&O, so we’re very excited that our Brisbane guests will soon be able to enjoy a stylish new look Pacific Dawn as part of their cruise holiday experience, alongside one of our latest ships, Pacific Aria.”

P&O’s increased presence in Queensland follows the impressive growth in the number of passengers cruising from Brisbane since P&O became the first cruise line to base a ship in the city in 2004. Latest industry statistics show that Queensland leads Australia in terms of cruising growth with the State’s passenger numbers rising almost 30 per cent to 282,000 in 2015 and it has increased greatly since with the arrival of the popular Pacific Aria, meaning that Brisbane has two P&O ships home ported year round!

Holidaymakers will now be able to enjoy all of Pacific Dawn’s new features as she arrived home to Brisbane on March 16, 2017. For cruise departures, visit the P&O Website and download a brochure or see your registered Cruise/Travel Agent for a copy.

Read more and view images of the newly refitted MV Pacific Dawn


Also view a detailed page on the MV Pacific Explorer ex Dawn Princess, with many images!



Visit the many features on the following Carnival PLC Cruise Companies:

P&O Cruises Australia: MV Pacific Dawn / Pacific Jewel

MV Pacific Explorer ex Dawn Princess

The Amazing P&O Cruise Ship the Pacific Aria: Read the Author’s 2016 & 2017 Cruise Reviews

P&O Cruises UK: MV Aurora / P&O UK Cruise Ships

Princess Cruises: MV Majestic Princess / MV Diamond Princess / MV Golden Princess / Sun Princess

Visit the Sun Class Ships Feature

Being the MV Sun and Sea Princess (The Dawn Princess has been transferred to P&O!)

Holland America Line: ms Noordam / ms Volendam / ms Oosterdam 2014 Review

Cunard: Queen Mary 2 / Remastered Queen Mary 2 / Queen Victoria / Queen Elizabeth

Seabourn: Seabourn Yachts





Australian Cruise Numbers Break the Magic Million Mark

Remembering the TSS Fairstar to Australia’s Cruise Ships of Today!

This item is in two parts, for in order to fully comprehend what has occurred to Australia’s growth in the Cruise Industry. I believe that we need to look back somewhat to the days when we had one only ship based year round in Australia. It was a time when Sitmar Line, which was later renamed Sitmar Cruises took the people of Australia seriously, for they realised that Australian’s wanted a fulltime cruise ship based in Sydney for this company had a heart for cruising the Pacific, New Zealand and South East Asia!

Part One – A little History:

That first Australian cruise ship was the 21.600-ton, 1,280 passengers, TSS Fairstar and she was owned by Sitmar Cruises and she was permanently based in Sydney from December 1974 and she sailed under the Sitmar banner until July 1988 when Sitmar Cruises was sold to P&O. With various refits and modernisations, she continued as the only Australian based cruise ship until her Farewell Cruise in January 1997, for being a good 40 years of age her boilers were aging faster than some of the rest of the ship, thus this amazingly popular ship was full to the very end, but finally she departed Sydney named the “RIPA” as she had been sold to be broken up India.

This is a photograph of the TSS Fairstar taken during her very last cruise in January 1997

Photographer unknown – Please See Photo Notes down the page

Fairstar’s replacement in 1997 was another delightful ex Sitmar Cruises ship, the 25,000-ton 1,050 passenger, TSS Fair Princess. And she sailed as the sole Australian based cruise ship until three years later when she was sold for a high price to Asian buyers to be used as a Casino cruise ship. Then another, but much newer ex Sitmar ship joined the P&O Cruises Australia, being the ex SS Sky Princess, renamed the Pacific Sky in 2000 and she sailed in Australia until 2006, she was the very last of the sole Australian based, for in 2004 Pacific Sky was joined by the MV Pacific Sun and a year later by the MV Pacific Star, both of these ships having been built originally as Carnival ships and were being discarded, and the perfect place according to Carnival for old second hand ships was Australia! Not that we liked it, but in due course it would improve a little.

Postcard of the P&O TSS Pacific Sky

Today, P&O has a fleet of five excellently designed Cruise Ships, with all three being Sitmar designed; the MV Pacific Dawn, ex Regal Princess, Pacific Jewel, ex Crown Princess and the Pacific Pearl, ex Sitmar FairMajesty & Star Princess (which will leave the fleet mid 2017). Then there are the two latest additions the MV Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden, ex Maasdam & Ryndam, and the completely refitted MV Pacific Explorer, ex Dawn Princess. In addition there is a new large, but yet un-named 119,000-ton ship arriving in 2019.

Other ships based in Australia are three Princess Cruises ships, such as the MV Dawn Princess (now transferred to P&O), Sea Princess and the Sun Princess, whilst Carnival Cruises also has two ships based in Australia Carnival Spirit and Carnival Legend, this today Australia has ten ships based here and then there is a myriad of excellent ships that are based in Australia from September to April and these may are ships from; Holland America Line, Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean as well as a good number of other Cruise Lines and individual ships that call on our ports! Thus it is no wonder that the numbers of Australian cruise passengers are simply escalating beyond belief!

Part Two – The Magic Million Cruiser’s Target has been Broken:

Keeping all this in mind back it has proved that Australians’ have a great love of cruising and this has propelled the local cruise industry into a new milestone, with latest figures revealing that more over a million Australians have taken a cruise vacation in 2014. This record result confirms Australia’s position as the world’s fastest growing source of cruise passengers, with numbers surging by 20.4% last year to reaching 1,003,256 cruise passengers.

The landmark achievement of over one million passengers in a calendar year has achieved some six years before it had been originally anticipated and it has been driven by an impressive average annual growth of 20% over the past 12 years!

The new figures also reveal that Australia has retained its position as being the world leader in the cruise market penetration, with more Australians taking a cruise last year, being significantly ahead of the well-established North American market, which ranked second in the entire world, but with a lesser market penetration rate than Australia!


Please Note: Cruise-Australia and its associated pages are 100% non-commercial and privately owned cruise sites and are NOT associated with any cruise company or travel agency! Although the author has been in the passenger shipping industry since 1960 and is retired, but continues to write cruise and ship reviews and articles in order to better to inform cruise and ship enthusiasts and provide information for those intending a cruise in the future.

An Important Note on HOW to Book Your Cruise: First of  all, I highly recommend that go and see a Good and a Long Established fully Registered Travel-Cruise Agency for information, bookings and you will obtain the best possible cruise fares from them as well as service until you are about to depart!

Never Book with the Cruise Company Direct: Sadly I have found that booking direct through any of the cruise companies, be it online or per phone that 1. You will not obtain the best fare. 2. And you will not receive any service; mostly due to their international phone staff located overseas know little to nothing about the product they are supposed to be selling. Take my word for it I have had my experiences, both with P&O Australia and Princess Cruises and they both rated a mere 1 out of 10!

For when I booked with Princess Cruises it was the most harrowing experience considering I only booked it online as there was a special, which had to be booked by a certain hour on that day, yet in the end I never received it the special as it was claimed that I was too late, rubbish! I find it very sad to sad to say, but the Carnival computer systems and land-based staff are without a doubt the worst I have ever experienced! And I have been in the Passenger Shipping trade since 1960 for heaven’s sake, and in the modern day, they have not learned a thing. We old-timers can teach them a whole lot, but Carnival has only one desire, make as much money as possible and use cheap staff based in the Philippines, etc!

I headed my cruise company with a considerable staff all of whom were well trained, but these days even the executives have little to no experience of the cruise industry, for they mostly come out of the banking, accounting, hotel and other minor tourist industries, but no passenger shipping, thus they have no actual experience at whatsoever. Their job is marketing and selling, filling the beds and that is about it. Yet, they forget the vital passenger relations, for that will have to be done on the ship, and thankfully the ships staff and crew is always wonderful! In my day, every member of my staff was fully trained in every aspect of the job before they could face a client, they had to know their product to the point of being an expert of our ship and all of its services and ensure that their contact with the client was going to be an enjoyable experience, for these fine people were about to head of on an oceangoing vacation!

I recall when I was speaking with a young lass, based in the Philippines, regarding my accommodation, she told me that my mini suite had an obstructed view, thus I said, “Excuse me, how can a balcony suite be obstructed?” But she was sure that her paperwork said just that. I knew this suite very well and that is why I chose it as I liked its location. This was the kind of stupidity I have encountered dealing with the Carnival Group!

Friends, I really do not wish to see you encounter any of this poor service, thus do yourself a favour, thus go and … see a good Cruise & travel Agent who will look after you from the beginning until you arrive home and offer the best fare possible!

Bon Voyage!

Reuben Goossens.


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