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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Pacific Sun sets off on final cruise

Source: Cruise Weekly

One of Australia’s most significant ships has departed on its last voyage for P&O before moving on to a new life in China. A SMALL crowd gathered in Brisbane on Sunday to bid “bon voyage” to the Pacific Sun, affectionately known for many years as Australia’s favourite cruise ship.

“It was a sombre sailaway with some of her fans lining the river to wave goodbye – I’m told there were a few tears,” a spokesperson for P&O Australia told CW.

 “It’s fair to say that Pacific Sun introduced thousands of Australians to cruising… She was at the core of the resurgence in cruising in Australia.”

In the eight years that Pacific Sun sailed under the P&O brand, Australian cruising experienced double-digit annual growth. Since 2004, the 47,000-tonne ship carried more than half a million passengers on 332 cruises, primarily around the South Pacific.

Over the past two weeks P&O Australia fans on Facebook have posted comments and reminisced about memories of fun on the ‘Sun’.

A group of “cruise enthusiasts” also set up a separate farewell page and are posting updates live from on board the final seven-night Pacific Island cruise. The 26-year-old ship was sold earlier this year as part of Carnival Australia’s continuing program of fleet renewal.

Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia, said Pacific Sun had been “enormously popular”. “When Pacific Sun joined our fleet eight years ago, Carnival Australia had two ships based in Australia and now we have seven, so she has certainly played a role in that growth”.

The 723-cabin vessel, built in Sweden in 1986, was first named Jubilee and sailed for US-based Carnival Cruise Lines in the Caribbean, Mexico and Alaska. Mystery surrounds the new unidentified owners, but according to unconfirmed rumours, the ship may be converted into a “floating casino” in China.

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