As the P&O Cruises fleet grows, recently from three to five, then to six in June next year and then – barring anything unforeseen in the interim – to seven (and a huge seven at that) by 2019 – the challenge for P&O Cruises is now to expand its horizons and deliver to its Australian clientele a variety of new destinations from which to see.
Already covering New Zealand and the South Pacific, voyage planners have turned to the next logical solution – Asia.
The continent has been something of an unofficial part of P&O’s global map for some time, mostly as ships head there for routine dry dock maintenance, however in recent years the line has embraced Asia – developing a number of exciting new itineraries which require its guests to board a plane in order to reach their ship. Let’s take a look at some of these.
This past weekend, one of the two newest ships added to the P&O stable – Pacific Eden – set sail on its maiden departure from Singapore, where it will mark the line’s maiden call to seven different Asian ports as part of four seven-night round-trip cruises from the Lion City. These include Langkawi, Malaysia; Krabi and Phuket in Thailand and Sabang, Indonesia.
More maiden calls will form part of its second sailing, in the form of Sihanoukville, Cambodia and the Thai ports of Ko Chang and Koh Samui. At the end of a short inaugural season in Asia, Eden will return to Australia for the peak summer season, basing itself next in the Far North Queensland city of Cairns – the first time that city has acted as a home port.
But if you’re looking more toward 2017 for your Asian cruise, you can take inspiration from this year as the 1,258-passenger ship returns to Singapore for a second season next year, offering two round-trip sailings with cabins priced from $899 per person quad share.
Departing on 15 July 2017, the first seven-night voyage will take guests to Sihanoukville, Ko Chang, Laem Chabang (the closest ocean port to Bangkok) and Koh Samui. Cabins on this cruise are currently on sale from $899 per person quad share. The second cruise will be significantly different, visiting Langkawi, Krabi, Phuket and Sabang, for the same price.
If your holiday time and budget allows, you can combine the two itineraries into one longer cruise and see them all – with the only repeat port being Singapore in the middle. This 14-night adventure to eight different ports is on sale at $1,649 per person quad share.
P&O has done its homework and developed a wide range of shore excursions for these Asian itineraries. Guests can kayak a national park in Cambodia, visit waterfalls in Chang Island, visit the Tiger Temple in Bangkok, take a day cruise to a geopark or just enjoy some beach and snorkelling time on some of Asia’s most picturesque islands.
Finally, if you’re keen on seeing part of Asia but the idea of a return airfare doesn’t thrill you, there is one other opportunity however you have to be ready to travel in February or March next year.
Another of P&O’s ships – Pacific Dawn – is heading to the aforementioned dry dock for its routine spruce-up and upgrade – and will be leaving from Brisbane on 04 February for a 14 night repositioning to Singapore, along the way visiting Port Douglas, Darwin, East Timor, Komodo Island and Bali. The return journey on the newly refurbished and upgraded vessel is set to leave Singapore on 02 March on a similar itinerary back to its Brisbane base.