After sifting through more than 30,000 suggestions from across Australia and New Zealand, P&O Cruises today drew a line in the sand to reveal the names of its latest ships – Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden.
Port Macquarie artist, Chloe Dickey, 24, unveiled the names in a spectacular 20-metre-wide mural raked into the golden sands of Sydney's iconic Bondi Beach as scores of spectators looked on.
P&O Cruises said while it had been overwhelmed with ideas, the two names, Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden, stood out from the field as they had a contemporary feel that reflected the blissful and indulgent spirit of a P&O Cruises' holiday at sea.
Eden, suggested by Nikki Smith from Bentley Park, Cairns, was chosen because of the sense of peace and images of paradise and beautiful destinations that the name evoked. In a happy coincidence, Eden is also an idyllic regional port on the cruise line's latest itineraries.
Meanwhile Aria, an entry from Katie Luxa from Canning Vale, Perth, conveyed a sense of beauty, grandeur and escapism – all words that could be used to describe a wonderful holiday at sea.
Ann Sherry, the CEO of Carnival Australia which operates P&O Cruises, said Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden were fresh, vibrant and contemporary names that captured the essence of its cruises.
“With ethereal and heavenly undertones, we thought Aria and Eden conjured up the happy, blissful and indulgent spirit of our cruise holidays, which offer the chance to escape the everyday world,” Ms Sherry said. “They really capture the cruising state-of-mind that hundreds of thousands of Australians experience on our ships each year.”
Chloe spent more than an hour creating the mural at Bondi Beach, carefully timing tides, swell and runners to reveal the names for the very first time. (View the images on Facebook.)
“It's not every day you get the chance to reveal the names of two new ships which will call Australia home, so we wanted to do it in an uniquely Australian way at one of the country's most iconic locations,” Ms Sherry said. “Chloe has an amazing talent and it was a delight to discover her work and bring her to Sydney to create an image that we think will capture Australia’s imagination.”
More than 93 percent of entries had featured the word “Pacific”, consistent with the current P&O Cruises fleet – Pacific Dawn, Pacific Jewel and Pacific Pearl – so the cruise line decided to maintain the prefix across all of its ships.
Ms Sherry said the extraordinary response to the two week Facebook search underlined P&O Cruises' place as the region's first and most popular cruise line.
“We were overwhelmed by the volume of suggestions from Aussies and Kiwis who wanted to put their stamp on our latest ships, which we hope will become as adored as our current fleet.”
The most common entries were gem stones' Diamond, Sapphire and Opal each suggested more than 500 times. Australians and New Zealanders also showed their creativity by putting forward names like Ozzie and Straya, Kiri Te Kawana, the Minogue sisters Kylie and Dannii as well as Dinky Di and Blinky Bill.
After coming up with the winning names and the most compelling reasons, Ms Smith and Mrs Luxa have each won a cruise for two on the inaugural voyage of the ships they successfully named and will also be invited to attend the naming celebration of the respective ships.
Pacific Eden and Pacific Aria will debut in Australia in November next year taking the cruise line’s fleet to a record five ships sailing year-round from Australia and New Zealand. The ships’ itineraries and home-porting arrangements will be announced in the coming weeks.