Victoria’s massive calendar of world class events and picturesque southern coast line have proved an irresistible drawcard for the growing cruise sector, with P&O Cruises announcing it will offer a record number of sailings to the State in 2015-16.
On sale today, the cruise line’s new 2015-16 program features five Melbourne P&OMainEvents itineraries including the cruise line’s first Melbourne Cup three-ship trifecta and a maiden cruise to the city’s Food and Wine Festival in March 2015.
Meanwhile the regional areas of Mornington Peninsula and Portland are also set to experience the economic benefits of the cruise industry, with P&O Cruises making its first visits to both areas next year.
In total, P&O Cruises’ Victorian visits in 2015-16 are estimated to inject around $15 million into the State’s economy.
As part of the cruise line’s expanded P&OMainEvents program, P&O Cruises’ entire fleet of three ships will sail south for the ‘race that stops a nation’ in November 2015. While Pacific Jewel and Pacific Pearl have been regular visitors to the Melbourne Cup in recent years, next year will mark the first time that Brisbane-based Pacific Dawn will join in the action. The cruise line will also return to Victoria for the Australian Open in January 2015 and 2016.
P&O Cruises Senior Vice President Tammy Marshall said there had been great demand from the cruise line’s guests to offer more itineraries to Melbourne’s premier events and more short cruises to the State.
“Victoria is home to some of the nation’s most popular sporting and culinary events and its foodie scene is absolutely thriving so it’s no surprise that it’s attracting more cruises,” Ms Marshall said.
“The best thing about cruising to a major event like the Melbourne Cup or Australian Open is that our P&OMainEvents cruises roll transport, food, entertainment, accommodation and event entry into one great value option, while also taking the stress out of planning.”
Ms Marshall said the cruise line had also launched its first P&OSeaBreaks to Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula, with the first four-night short break from Sydney to Mornington departing Sydney on March 16, 2015, priced from $549* per person quad share.
The new program includes the cruise line’s biggest program of cruises from Melbourne with nine cruises departing during February and March 2016 including enhanced South Australia and Tasmania itineraries featuring a new port for the cruise line - Portland on Victoria’s famed Great Ocean Road. Ranging from five to 11 nights the cruises also feature visits to Kangaroo Island, Burnie, Port Arthur and Port Lincoln.
The Melbourne program will also include a new 11-night Pacific Islands cruise, short breaks to Tasmania and Sydney and a comedy themed three-night cruise.