P&O Cruises’ MAY-hem trade roadshows in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne this month attracted more than 250 agents, keen to learn more about the cruise line’s 2018-19 program and the launch of its newest ship, Pacific Explorer, in June. The roadshows also showcased new food and beverage partnerships with the Sydney-based Archie Rose Distilling Co. and Melbourne’s master of traditional Neapolitan pizza, Johnny Di Francesco.
In Sydney, South Sydney Rabbitohs stars George Burgess, Jason Clark, Angus Crichton and Adam Reynolds also joined in the fun, as travel agents cheered on the cruise line’s Official Membership partnership with the NRL club.
To round out the fun, Travel agent partners Jonathon House from Flight Centre World Square in Sydney, Jane Hoskin from Flight Centre Queen Street Mall in Brisbane and Kathy Thomaidis from MTA Travel in Melbourne each won a cruise in the popular prize draw at each event.
IMAGE: At the September 2016 announcement of P&O Cruises’ new partnership with NRL team, the South Sydney Rabbitohs – P&O Cruises President Sture Myrmell and Rabbitohs CEO Blake Solly
The six travel agents in P&O’s Flagship Achievers program with the highest revenue booked and deposited between May 15-28, 2017, on any Pacific Explorer sailings, will win a twin share balcony room on the Pacific Explorer one-night showcase cruise on Wednesday 21 June 2017.
The exclusive preview cruise will include the chance to taste the ship’s new ‘fast-casual’ eateries including a poolside grill called Luke’s, by Australian chef and restaurateur Luke Mangan, and 400 Gradi, a traditional Neapolitan Italian pizzeria from famed Melbourne pizza chef Johnny Di Francesco.
The top sellers will also have the chance to try exciting new offerings onboard Pacific Explorer including cocktails made with handcrafted spirits from Sydney distillery Archie Rose Distilling Co in the ship’s small bar, The Bonded Store, as well as a waterpark with two spectacular waterslides and a relaxed barefoot lawn bowls area.
As an extra incentive, the group will be among the first to dine at A Taste of Salt, a new seven-course degustation available at Chef’s Table. The meal features some of Luke’s land-based favourites such as the ‘Glass’ Sydney crab omelette and Luke’s liquorice parfait, paired with matching Australian wines.
Flagship College was launched last year as part of the new P&O agent website and offers incentives for qualifying agents including free cruises and Flagship Points which can lead to cash bonuses.
For more information on the incentive visit flagship.pocruises.com.au/pacific-explorer-showcase
P&O Cruises Flagship College Master Class is an easy way for travel to boost their cruise knowledge. The Master Class is the second course to be made available through Flagship College, part of the new P&O agent website.
Agents will gain deeper insights into P&O’s product – as well as 10 Cruise Lines International Australasia (CLIA) Accreditation Points.
The course is available in a mobile-friendly format for easy access, with agents having the option to start and stop at any time, and it takes only one hour to complete.
Nearly 1500 agents have completed the first Extra Credit course, which was released in November last year.
Director of sales Ryan Taibel said many agents had been eagerly awaiting the first Master Class.
“We’ve had such incredible interest in Flagship College so far, and we think the first Master Class will really cement its place as the industry leading consultant training tool,” Taibel said.
Agents enrolled in the Flagship Achievers program need to complete the Master Class by 30 November 2017 to be eligible for a Flagship Bonus of up to $500 a year.
Guests can slip and slide during their voyage on P&O ship Pacific Dawn, which now features the wildest and longest waterslides on an Australian cruise ship.
The two new slides, both around 80 metres long, form the centrepiece of a massive refurbishment of the Brisbane-based superliner, which has taken place over two weeks in Singapore.
One slide is transparent so that spectators can watch guests shoot through its twists and turns, while the other slide is multi-coloured, with music pumping through it to give guests a high impact ride to the bottom.
Other additions include a waterpark and P&O’s first virtual reality activity at sea from Sony Interactive Entertainment Australia.
As part of the refurbishment, the 2000-guest Pacific Dawn has also become the first in the fleet to wear the cruise line’s striking new livery featuring the Southern Cross.
In the teenage clubs, HQ and HQ+, the entertainment showcases the new virtual reality experience, featuring a range of popular Sony PS4 titles, including Tearaway Unfolded, Gravity Rush 2 and Ratchet & Clank.
Pacific Dawn’s guests can now also enjoy a range of other new features on the ship including The Pantry, an international market place of nine fresh food outlets that replaces the traditional ship buffet.
The refit comes at the start of P&O’s biggest year of Queensland cruising, with two ships sailing from Brisbane year round. Between them, Pacific Dawn and Pacific Aria will offer a record 108 cruises to holidaymakers this year, up from 98 cruises in 2016.
Images: James Morgan Photography
P&O Cruises from Fremantle now offer a sleepover in Bali, with its first overnight stay on 13 April 2017.
The overnight call features in the cruise line’s 12-day Indonesian cruises departing Fremantle on 9 April and 28 May 2017, which also include visits to Komodo Island, Lombok and Probolinggo
The additional time allows P&O to offer a range of immersive shore excursions, including a traditional Balinese farming experience, where guests travel to a village and spend a day with a local family, working in a rice paddy as well as harvesting coconuts. Other popular day trips include whitewater rafting on the Ayung River and a tour taking in Uluwatu Temple and the picturesque Bukit Peninsula.
The new itinerary is part of P&O’s biggest Fremantle season, with Pacific Eden returning for a three-month season from 9 April to 3 July 2017.
Among the 14 cruises on offer will be the cruise line’s first sailings to the Kimberley with the inaugural cruise call to Kuri Bay – a remote coastal bay north of Broome boasting magnificent red rock escarpments and a turquoise bay – scheduled for 20 May.
Guests will be able to explore the spectacular wilderness of the Kimberley by foot or air, visit a Paspaley pearl farm, take an indigenous tour or spot local wildlife.
Port Macquarie couple Christine Drennan and Matthew Moore are currently sailing on P&O Cruises’ Pacific Jewel and had planned a beach wedding at Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast.
However, not all plans come to pass and while their wedding celebrant Gail Evans was at the beach waiting for them, strong winds and swell prevented tender boats from taking passengers ashore. To everyone’s disappointment, it seemed the wedding was off.
Not to be beaten by the weather gods, Pacific Jewel hotel director Melissa Yates arranged for a special commitment service onboard, and while Captain Otty Ghoshroy couldn’t legally marry the couple, the rest of the day went ahead as planned, with champagne, a wedding cake and a reception dinner in the ship’s main dining room.
To ensure the couple were officially married, P&O arranged for the celebrant to fly to Gladstone to conduct the wedding the next day. The ceremony was held in The Dome at the front of the ship, with stunning views of the Queensland coast.
Cupid’s arrow might have hit a day later than planned, but love and romance got there in the end.
When Pacific Dawn arrives in Brisbane on 16 March 2017, she’ll be showing off the results of a multi-million dollar makeover – currently underway in Singapore.
The ‘new Dawn’ will feature two spectacular waterslides on her top decks and a state-of-the-art waterpark, The Pantry –an international market place of fresh food outlets that will replace the traditional ship buffet, a Mediterranean-inspired dining offering called Nic and Toni’s, and a new seafood restaurant, Shell & Bones.
Several of Pacific Dawn’s public spaces – including the atrium, Charlie’s Cafe, The Orient and the Promenade Bar – will also be redesigned to mirror the striking contemporary look that has become a trademark of the P&O fleet in recent years.
Fares on the refurbished ship include a seven-night Pacific Island Hopper departing Brisbane on 1 April 2017 starting from $749* per person quad share.
*Subject to availability, conditions apply
IMAGE: Pacific Dawn enters the dry dock in Singapore, February 2017
P&O Cruises has launched its 2017 Flagship Achievers incentive program for travel agents.
In 2016, agents across Australia and New Zealand earned more than $300,000 in incentive payments from the Flagship program and the cruise line believes 2017 will be even bigger, with the refurbishment of Pacific Dawn and the debut of Pacific Explorer giving agents more opportunities to sell a P&O cruise.
The program allows qualifying agents* to earn Flagship Points based on net agent revenue for every P&O cruise they sell over a twelve-month period, with $1 of net agent revenue equalling one Flagship Point.
Agents who book more than $50,000 in net revenue sales qualify for a bonus payment of up to $500.
In addition, 20 agents who earn the most points during the year* will qualify for a Top Achievers Trip on Pacific Explorer.
Valued at $6000 each, the trip includes a cruise for two on Pacific Explorer’s three-night Australia Day cruise, a $1500 Visa Gift Card for flights and transfers, dinner at Luke Mangan’s Salt grill and onboard spending money of $300 per room, as well as dinner for two at ARIA restaurant in Sydney and overnight accommodation and breakfast at the InterContinental Hotel Sydney.
“We had terrific results from the incentive program last year, with agents really getting onboard to earn two great things – extra cash and great holidays,” said director of sale Ryan Taibel.
The 2017 Flagship Achievers program includes bookings made on P&O cruises between 1 December 2016 and 30 November 2017.
*Full terms and conditions can be found on the Flagship website
In its first year as the official cruise line of the NRL, P&O has put together two special State of Origin cruises including its inaugural itinerary from Sydney to Brisbane for the series opener at Suncorp Stadium. Departing on 26 May 2017, the seven-day cruise calls into Gladstone and Moreton Island in Queensland and is priced from $799* per person quad share, including transfers and entry to the game.
The second seven-day State of Origin cruise departs Brisbane on 18 June 2017, and includes calls at Moreton Island and Newcastle, with all guests receiving entry and transfers to ANZ Stadium in Sydney for game two on 21 June. Prices start from $899* per person quad share.
Maroons and Blues greats including Steve Price, Steve Mortimer and Steve Menzies will join the Sydney departure, while Petero Civoniceva, Matt Cooper and Paul Sironen will cruise from Brisbane. Both itineraries will feature footy-themed activities, including Rugby League trivia hosted by Fox Sports News Rugby League Insider Steve Hart, plus meet-and-greet and Q&A sessions with the former players.
The cruise line’s first league offering of the year headed to sea earlier this week with Pacific Pearl cruising from Sydney to Auckland for the NRL Auckland Nines. League personalities Brad Fittler, Steve Price, Steve Menzies and referee Bill Harrigan joined the four-day voyage, with guests who had booked Sportsnet packages receiving entry to Eden Park for two days of Nines action.
P&O is making the most of its inaugural NRL season as The Official Membership Partner of the South Sydney Rabbitohs in 2017, with Bunnies members and supporters offered a special four-night roundtrip cruise from Sydney to Moreton Island departing 4 May 2017, from $629* per person quad share.
Fans will be able to meet with Rabbitohs’ legends as well as current players and coaching staff, and take part in a range of special events, including a cocktail function, a Q&A and a Rugby League themed trivia night. During the visit to Moreton Island, guests will be able to enjoy a special Rabbitohs Legends Touch Football game in addition to plenty of exciting activities from quad-biking to parasailing.
*Subject to availability, conditions apply
IMAGE: Steve Price, Brad Fittler and Steve Menzies onboard Pacific Pearl this week
Back in the good old, bad old days of Aussie cruises, almost everyone in the country knew the tagline “Fairstar- the Funship” and plenty of folks experienced the ‘fun’ firsthand … and many repeatedly!
So much fun was promised, and delivered, on P&O’s Fairstar until her final cruise from Sydney on 21 January 1997 so, to mark the 20th anniversary of her swan song, more than 250 former TSS Fairstar passengers sailed on P&O Cruises’ Pacific Pearl, surrounded by Fairstar memorabilia, last weekend for a maritime reunion that recalled the halcyon days of cruising on one of Australia’s most famous ships.
Fairstar began life as the British troop carrier Oxfordshire, ferrying soldiers to the far flung corners of the Empire. History and aviation overwhelmed troop transport by sea and saw her transformed to Fairstar with the Sitmar line, to carry thousands of assisted passage migrants from the UK to Australia, cementing her place in the lives of so many Australians.
The Sydney Fairstar reunion was largely the work of Sydney paramedic Mike Ristuccia, who first travelled on the ship as a 15-year-old on a family holiday. He fell in love with the vessel and later returned to work onboard as a photographer. These days, Mike is the host of a Facebook page dedicated to all things TSS Fairstar, which has more than 1000 followers.
Pacific Pearl entertainment director Zoltina-J Medwick-Daley was among the reunion group and remembered more than 20 family holidays, which morphed into a career at sea.
“Ships have a personality and Fairstar will always have a special place in my heart,” Zoltina said.
Jimmy Barnes put on a show for guests onboard Pacific Eden in Sydney yesterday, with a special acoustic Australia Day performance on the ship’s Oasis pool deck, singing some of his own (and Cold Chisel’s) biggest hits, including Flame Trees, Khe Sahn and Working Class Man. [Watch video here]
Barnes was also appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia in the 2017 Australia Day Honours.
More than 5000 holidaymakers celebrated Australia Day on three P&O cruise ships on Sydney Harbour – Pacific Eden, Pacific Pearl and Pacific Dawn.
Images: James Morgan
It’s hot out there, but Princess Cruises has cooled things down for travel agents in Australia and New Zealand with the delivery of personal desk fans.
The cruise line’s BDMs blew into agencies this week delivering hundreds of the fans, which display two messages in cool blue neon when running – ‘Princess Cruises’ and ‘Come Back New’.
Flight Centre Raymond Terrace assistant team leader Samantha Ward-Leroy said the new fans made them feel like princesses.
“Not only do they keep us cool but it’s a great talking point for customers,” Ward-Leroy said.
The fans are a cool reminder of Princess Cruises’ current ‘3 for Free*’ WAVE campaign, which includes free onboard spending money, free stateroom upgrade and free wine and dine on selected cruises to the South Pacific, Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Japan, Europe and the world.
P&O Cruises kicked off the start of the cruise season with a series of promotional Wave roadshows across Australia and New Zealand last week.
Cruise line staff handed out hundreds of chocolate gold coins and flyers to agents in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Auckland to celebrate P&O’s new $1 Deposit Sale.
The offer is just one of the exciting packages available with the cruise line this Wave period, which also includes a new Premium Beverage Package on cruises of seven nights or more and a Soft Drinks Package on cruises of six nights or less.
P&O Cruises has launched its first onboard app, allowing guests to plan activities, make bookings and share experiences in real time throughout their cruise.
The WhatsOn app is available free on personal devices when connected to the cruise line’s Wi-Fi and provides a new way for holidaymakers to stay in touch during their trip.
The app allows families and friends travelling together to send messages to one another, check in and ‘like’ locations and recommend activities.
Guests can also book shore tours, check their onboard account, view special promotions available across the ship and keep up to date with the latest news from around the world.
The app, which was launched across most of the fleet last week (with Pacific Aria set to come online later this week) also provides the daily schedule of activities for the entire cruise, so guests can book their preferred activities online and create a wish list for each day.
The cruise line is also rolling out new cash kiosks that will allow guests to transfer money onto their cruise card without needing to queue up at the front desk.