P&O Cruises' Pacific Jewel anchored off the coast of Panasesa Island in Papua New Guinea.

Passengers on P&O Cruises’ ship Pacific Jewel last week became the sole inhabitants, albeit temporarily, of the Conflict Islands in Papua New Guinea – the eighth destination for the line in PNG and the newest to join the Australian cruise brand’s global map.

In doing so, the ship became the first to call off the coast of Panasesa Island, located east of Loani, one of the eastern-most parts of the Papua New Guinea mainland and one of the most remote and independently held patches of land in the world. The addition of the Conflict Islands to the P&O map comes as a result of a close collaboration with the island group’s owner – staunch conservationist, entrepreneur and property investor Ian Gowrie-Smith.

The collection of the Conflict Islands owned by Gowrie-Smith are a group of 21 small islands which together ring one of the world’s most diverse reef systems. The region is untouched and as such was a popular part of Pacific Jewel‘s itinerary. The islands are extremely difficult to access and why P&O Cruises said was a reason why cruising is the best way to do so.

Back Beach on Panasesa Island is now open to cruise travellers on P&O.
Back Beach on Panasesa Island is now open to cruise travellers on P&O.

During their day on Panasesa Island, the 2,000 guests on Pacific Jewel spent the day engaged in activities such as kayaking, snorkelling, stand-up paddle boarding, outrigger canoe tours and glass bottom boat rides to enable viewing of the colourful reef below.

“Even though they are close to Australia, many of Papua New Guinea’s picturesque islands are rarely visited because they are difficult to access. Cruising really is the easiest way to see this stunning corner of the world so we’re thrilled to add the beautiful Conflict Islands to our great list of destinations,” P&O Cruises president Sture Myrmell commented.