In keeping with Sydney Harbour’s rich maritime heritage, on April 18, P&O Cruises Australia’s flagship Pacific Explorer will return home to lead the restart of cruising in Australia.

Pacific Explorer’s arrival after an absence of more than two years will be embraced by cruise suppliers as a sign that their businesses and livelihoods will soon be in recovery mode with the resumption of cruising based on comprehensive protocols to support its return. 

The P&O Cruises Australia flagship’s arrival is also expected to capture the imagination of Sydneysiders as it enters the Heads on Easter Monday in returning to its home port.

The Easter Monday holiday arrival will give the city’s ‘boaties’ an opportunity to escort Pacific Explorer as the ship makes its way up the harbour to the Overseas Passenger Terminal (OPT) to be alongside at 10.30am.

President of Carnival Australia and P&O Cruises Australia Marguerite Fitzgerald said Pacific Explorer’s return marked the start of rebuilding cruise tourism in Australia, which, prior to the pandemic, contributed more than $5 billion a year to the national economy. 

“Seeing Pacific Explorer sail into Sydney Harbour will be an emotional moment for our employees, many thousands of guests and our numerous cruise suppliers, travel agents and entertainers,” Ms Fitzgerald said. 

“For our suppliers and for so many others, our flagship’s arrival is a symbol of the resurgence of their businesses and livelihoods as hope and optimism replaces uncertainty.

“Our supply chain team is already gearing up to deliver hundreds of pallets to Pacific Explorer containing locally supplied fresh produce, wine and other products necessary for cruise operations. This is just the beginning of the revitalisation of the wide and varied cruising ecosystem. 

“We can’t wait for our first guest cruise, a four-night round trip from Sydney to Brisbane departing on May 31 based on protocols developed in conjunction with government authorities. 

“We will use the coming weeks to prepare Pacific Explorer to be cruise ready to lead the resurgence of cruising.

“It is so good to know this is happening in the year, P&O Cruises Australia, the nation’s homegrown cruise line marks its ninetieth anniversary of cruising from Australia.”

The approximate schedule for Pacific Explorer’s arrival on April 18 is as follows:

  • 9.30am – Pacific Explorer enters Sydney Heads
  • 10.10am – Passing Fort Denison
  • 10.20am – Passing the Sydney Opera House
  • 10.30am – Alongside at the OPT