Australia’s leading cruise line P&O Cruises has made history in Sydney today, staging an unprecedented five-ship spectacular on the harbour to celebrate the arrival of its two latest cruise ships.
In a world first, the cruise line marked the debut of Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden with a social media naming ceremony, which saw popular Australian singer Jessica Mauboy and actress Kate Ritchie simultaneously christen the ships via Twitter as the two vessels sailed either side of Fort Denison.
Reflecting Australians’ love of social media and cruising, the ships’ godmothers both tweeted a short message declaring the ships named, while Jessica Mauboy also sang the national anthem.
In a nod to maritime tradition, a bottle of Champagne was smashed on the bow of each ship as they reached Fort Denison, with all five ships sounding their whistles to mark the nation’s first dual cruise ship christening.
The history-making gathering of five cruise ships from one fleet on the Harbour was watched by thousands of Sydneysiders on the foreshore and on small boats, while more than 12,000 guests and crew onboard the P&O fleet joined in the celebrations.
The five ships will remain on Sydney Harbour all day, with guests onboard set to enjoy a series of live concerts from more than 25 music acts during the afternoon and evening, including performances by Jessica Mauboy, The Veronicas, Justice Crew, Samantha Jade and Stan Walker.
The celebration will conclude with a special fireworks display above the harbour at 8.45pm.
Unprecedented in its scale, today’s event brings together a record number of cruise ships from one fleet on Sydney Harbour.
Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia which operates P&O Cruises, said the event marked a new era for P&O, Australia’s only homegrown cruise line, which has increased its fleet to five ships in response to increasing demand for cruise holidays.
“P&O Cruises has been sailing from Australia for more than 80 years so we are thrilled to be able to celebrate the expansion of our fleet with so many Sydneysiders today,” Ms Sherry said.
“The addition of Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden represents a 50 per cent expansion in our guest capacity and heralds a new look and feel for our cruise line, inspired by modern Australia.”
Designed to be game changers for the Australian cruise industry, both ships offer a relaxed vibe in a contemporary and stylish setting unlike any other ship operating in Australian waters.
The Fort Denison naming ceremony was attended by key cruise industry members and two special guests – Sydney sisters 8-year-old Aria and 3-year-old Eden Mulligan, invited by P&O to perform the role of “junior godmothers” for the sister ships which coincidentally share their names.