Two years after a 2018 announcement to transfer two ships to sister company P&O Cruises Australia, Princess Cruises has finalised the move of Golden Princess and Star Princess, which will now debut as Pacific Adventure and Pacific Encounter respectively, with sail dates set for 2021.
Golden Princess began sailing in May 2001, while Star Princess joined shortly in January 2002. The two ships, with a capacity of 2,600 guests, will replace P&O's Pacific Dawn and Aria.
“Golden Princess and Star Princess have sailed all over the world...We know their wonderful legacy will continue under sister brand P&O Cruises Australia, which has become so well-known for delivering unforgettable cruise holidays for Aussies and Kiwis to some of the most idyllic destinations in the South Pacific,” said Jan Swartz, Princess Cruises' president.
For P&O Cruises Australia, the new large vessels signal a "step-change for the fleet and a sign of confidence in the market".
“This investment in our fleet is a demonstration that P&O Cruises Australia is ready to lead the industry in bouncing back when government and public health authorities agree it is appropriate to begin sailing again with protocols in place," said Sture Myrmell, president, P&O Cruises Australia.
"These have been challenging times for the entire community and, for our part, we have sought to use this operational pause to fast-track our planned fleet refresh. Our pathway to a return to cruising may be unclear but we wanted to give our guests confidence about our future fleet and our commitment to Australia and New Zealand."
Pacific Adventure, which received its last refurbishment in 2015, will sail out from Sydney in April 2021. Suites and selected mini-suite guests will enjoy exclusive access to a private beach club on board, fitted with a private outdoor pool and whirlpool spas on the ship's top deck.
Pacific Encounter will be refitted to include family friendly activities and signature restaurants from P&O, before sailing out from Brisbane in November 2021. Itineraries will cover the South Pacific islands and along the Queensland coastline.
All guests and travel advisors who have existing bookings will receive details on how to book another Princess Cruise when operations resume, or receive a refund instead.