P&O Cruises Australia made history on 25 November when it simultaneously christened two new ships via social media and held its first five-ship parade in Sydney Harbour.
At 5.15am, P&O Cruises’ new ships – Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden – joined the line’s three resident ships – Pacific Jewel, Pacific Pearl and Pacific Dawn – in a V formation at the Heads of Sydney Harbour. The Five Ship Spectacular marked the first time five ships from the same cruise company have simultaneously sailed into the harbour.
The ships then entered the harbour in single file, with Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden following the other three vessels. As they reached the centre of the harbour, Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden sailed to either side of Fort Denison for their naming ceremonies.
In a world first, ARIA Award-winning singer Jessica Mauboy then shared the official naming words for Pacific Aria via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, while award-winning actress and TV presenter Kate Ritchie did the same for Pacific Eden. The updates were shared across P&O Cruises’ own social media platforms. Two sisters from Sydney – eight-year-old Aria and three-year-old Eden Mulligan – performed the role of ‘junior godmothers’, which coincidentally share their names.
To mark the christening, a bottle of champagne was smashed against the bow of each ship and all five of P&O Cruises’ vessels sounded their whistles.
“The addition of Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden represents a 50% expansion in our guest capacity and heralds a new look and feel for our cruise line, inspired by modern Australia,” said Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia, which operates P&O Cruises.
All five vessels then berthed in the harbour and collectively hosted live onboard concerts from 25 artists throughout the afternoon for guests. Mauboy also performed onboard Pacific Aria. The ships departed Sydney in the evening following a fireworks display above the harbour.
Thousands of citizens from Sydney enjoyed the celebrations from the foreshore and on small boats, while more than 12,000 guests and crew joined in with festivities onboard the vessels.
“P&O Cruises has been sailing from Australia for more than 80 years so we are thrilled to be able to celebrate the expansion of our fleet with so many Sydneysiders today,” said Sherry.