P&O Cruises has added exotic Papua New Guinea to its great range of Pacific destinations, with the cruise line announcing new cruises visiting the remote islands and towns of spectacular Milne Bay.

In a first for P&O Cruises, Papua New Guinea will feature in two dedicated itineraries, with Pacific Dawn sailing from Brisbane to the turquoise waters of Milne Bay, where it will visit the local capital Alotau as well as the beautiful white sand beaches of Doini Island and the culturally-rich Trobriand Islands, also known as the Islands of Love, along the northern straits of the Bay.

A highlight of the new 2013-14 program, the Papua New Guinea sailings are priced from $1049* per person quad share for a nine-night cruise, with the maiden cruise to Milne Bay in October 2013 timed to coincide with the sacred Canoe and Kundu Festival where local communities compete in canoe races, costume display and cultural performances.

Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia, which operates P&O Cruises, said the cruise line was excited to be sailing its first dedicated cruises to Papua New Guinea on a superliner.

“Papua New Guinea is one of the most remote and untouched corners of the world – it’s so close to Australia geographically, but a million miles away in terms of culture and scenery,” Ms Sherry said.

“We’re very excited to be able to take Australian holidaymakers from their doorstep and show them this region from the comfort of a superliner for the first time - cruising really is the perfect way to explore Papua New Guinea’s idyllic beaches and scenery and discover its ancient customs and history.”

The new 2013-14 program, on sale from April 23, features 73 departures across 22 different itineraries with Pacific Dawn sailing from Brisbane and Pacific Jewel and Pacific Pearlcruising from Sydney.

Other highlights of the program include more weekend getaways and short breaks ranging from three to six-nights. In all, the program offers 21 cruises of less than a week with itineraries based around lifestyle themes as well as Melbourne Cup and Australia Day cruises.

The short break cruises start from $529 per person quad share for a three-night cruise from Sydney.