P&O’s love affair with Eden has continued, with the cruise line naming one of its new ships ‘Pacific Eden’ in what it calls “a happy coincidence”.
Just three months after P&O announced its maiden voyages to Snug Cove early next year, ‘Pacific Eden’ and ‘Pacific Aria’ were selected from a pool of over 30,000 name suggestions submitted as part of a competition run by the company.
Ann Sherry, the CEO of Carnival Australia, which operates P&O Cruises, said 'Pacific Eden' and 'Pacific Aria' were fresh, vibrant and contemporary names that captured the essence of its cruises.
She said the name ‘Eden’ brought to mind “a sense of peace and images of paradise and beautiful destinations", and the fact the ship will bear the same name as the idyllic coastal town is “a happy coincidence”.
“With ethereal and heavenly undertones, we thought Eden and Aria conjured up the happy, blissful and indulgent spirit of our cruise holidays, which offer the chance to escape the everyday world,” Ms Sherry said.
“They really capture the cruising state-of-mind that hundreds of thousands of Australians experience on our ships each year.
“We were overwhelmed by the volume of suggestions from Aussies and Kiwis who wanted to put their stamp on our latest ships, which we hope will become as adored as our current fleet.”
The most common entries were gem stones, with Diamond, Sapphire and Opal each suggested more than 500 times, while more creative entries like Ozzie and Straya, Kiri Te Kawana, the Minogue sisters Kylie and Dannii, as well as Dinky Di and Blinky Bill were all put forward.
The name ‘Eden’ was suggested by Cairns resident, Nikki Smith.
The addition of the two new ships brings P&O’s Australian fleet to a record five, alongside Pacific Dawn, Pacific Jewel and Pacific Pearl.
Pacific Pearl is scheduled to berth at Snug Cove in late February 2015 and again in early March.
The trips are part of roundtrip itineraries from Sydney, ranging from seven to eight nights, and including other regional ports such as Kangaroo Island in SA and Portland in Victoria.
They will be day stops, rather than overnight, and passengers will not be able to join the ship at any of the midway points.
P&O Cruises spokesperson David Jones told the Magnet in April that each cruise ship visit is worth an estimated $500,000 for the local economy.
He said Eden’s natural beauty, and great feedback from cruise passengers who have stopped in Eden before, were serious factors in considering the port for inclusion on the 2015-16 program.
$15million in Government upgrades to the breakwater wharf were also a sweetener, as cruise ships visiting Eden previously had to anchor in Twofold Bay.
“There will be a big focus on the visit to Eden on food and wine in particular for the 2000 or so passengers who can disembark, and visiting the places where fine food is offered,” he said.
“We estimate local economies benefit by around $500,000 per cruise ship visit, with around 2000 people delivered to your doorstep to enjoy the sights and sample what the region has to offer.
“Our experts here have been working for 12 months to develop a short tour program in the region... it’s going to be very exciting.
"You would be amazed what people can fit into a day."
He said many cruise ship visitors also return to the destinations on future holidays.
Mr Jones also said future programs and a potential increase in the number of visits are still unclear.
“We have had very positive feedback from cruise passengers who have stopped in Eden before.
“All the indications pointed to Eden being able to realise its potential as a cruise destination so we are thrilled that our P&O cruise ships can visit Eden, and open up a great cruising destination.
“I can’t say absolutely certainly what’s going to happen in future years, but we had to be very confident that the cruises would be very popular.”