P&O Cruises Australia is bringing a taste of Hollywood to its ships, with a new movie-making program based on the animation technology behind Wallace and Gromit and The Pirates! Band of Misfits.

The cruise line said it has partnered with animation software developer Stop Motion Pro and home entertainment company Sony to launch a new program called Broad Shorts, giving kids the chance to create their own animated short movie while at sea.

The program is one of a series of new family activities being rolled out across P&O Cruises’ fleet this year, in consultation with childhood lecturer Rhonda Davidson-Irwin.

Director and Co-creator of Australian-owned Stop Motion Pro, Paul Howell, said that while the program was available in some schools across the country, the partnership with P&O Cruises will be the first holiday program of its kind.  

“The kid’s creative juices will run wild with the program - it’s an incredibly exciting time for Stop Motion Pro and P&O cruises. We wonder how many of them will go on to be Hollywood movie makers themselves after this unique on board experience.”

Broad Shorts will launch in the teen-focused HQ and HQ+ clubs this month, with kids shown how to make their own stop motion movies from a range of puppets.

The teenagers will be responsible for all aspects of the film-making process, from designing the puppets, to creating a story and script, filming and providing voiceovers.  The final stage will involve creating an animation using technology developed by Stop Motion Pro, the Australian company involved in the making of the well-known Wallace and Gromit animation, as well as the Academy Award-nominated The Pirates! Band of Misfits movie.

The short films will then be premiered to their families and other passengers at a special screening during their cruise. In the second phase of the program, to be introduced later this year teenage passengers will be given cameras to film content for their movies around the ship.
Carnival Australia Vice President Hotel Operations Sture Myrmell said Broad Shorts and the other new family activities reflected P&O Cruises’ focus on the family cruise market.

“With families making up one third of P&O Cruises’ passenger numbers, we have a well-deserved reputation as Australia’s favourite family cruise line and a commitment to making cruising fun for passengers of all ages,” he said.

“Our new activities like Broad Shorts are designed to stimulate kids and leave them feeling that they not only had a great holiday with P&O Cruises, they also had some great new experiences.”

All three ships in P&O Cruises’ fleet offer four kids’ clubs – Turtle Cove (3-6 years), Shark Shack (7-10 years), HQ (11-14 years) and HQ+ (15-17 years).