Pacific Jewel in Sydney (photo: Clyde Dickens)P&O Australia is reworking its brand image in the market, according to Tammy Marshall, senior vice president. “We are evolving our itineraries beyond the traditional island market and offering more short-break cruises as well and from more ports,” she said. “As we are growing, we are opening up new markets, giving the taste of cruising to more people.”

For 2015–2016, P&O will offer 250 cruises with five ships from eight homeports, its biggest ever year of cruising in Australia. In addition to Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Fremantle, Adelaide and Auckland, P&O will also be sailing from Cairns and Singapore.

The expansion into more ports and new markets is part of the brand’s evolution, but is being accelerated with the addition of two more ships, the Pacific Eden and the Pacific Aria, being transferred from sister company Holland America Line.

Marshall said that the Holland America ships will be refurbished to contemporary P&O design and carry the brand’s flagship features. And with two more ships, P&O will see a 38 percent increase in passenger capacity in 2016.

New cruises in 2015–2016 include maiden itineraries to destinations such as Honiara in the Solomon Islands, Jakarta and Ko Chang as well as Australian destinations such as Queensland’s Hamilton Island and Gladstone, Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula and Esperance in Western Australia.

P&O will have all five of its ships in Sydney on Nov. 25 for what it calls an unprecedented five-ship display. They will bring more than 15,000 passengers and are expected to attract thousands of spectators as well.

Said Marshall: “With five ships we will have a national footprint and we are opening up more of the country for cruising. We are extending the seasons from existing homeports and adding new homeports and ports of call.”

Excerpt from Cruise Industry News Quarterly Magazine: Fall 2014