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A Pearl Begins to Form…

November 19, 2010

A Pearl Begins to Form…

Work is underway on the three-week dry dock of P&O Cruises' latest ship, with the multi-million dollar refurbishment set to transform the vessel into Pacific Pearl, the first-ever superliner to be based in New Zealand.

An international team of more than 1,800 people is working on the refit of the 63,500-tonne ship, formerly Ocean Village, at Singapore’s Sembawang Shipyard, a subsidiary of Sembcorp Marine Limited. Tasks range from the creation of new restaurants through to a complete repainting of the hull with the latest high-tech environmentally friendly silicon paint.

Pacific Pearl's sea trials are scheduled to begin on December 4 before she sails to Auckland, arriving on December 18 ahead of her official naming by NZ boardsailing Olympic champion, Barbara Kendall at Queens Wharf on December 21 and her maiden cruise on December 22.

All areas of the 11-passenger deck ship will be overhauled during the extensive dry dock, giving the ship a completely different look and feel.

New features to be added to the ship include a massive seven-metre wide, four metre-high Big Screen on the pool deck, a new Salt Grill by Luke Mangan restaurant and a child-free Oasis retreat. Meanwhile a major refit of the atrium will turn it into a multipurpose entertainment, café, bar and retail venue – the true heart of the ship.

In keeping with the cruise line’s family focus, extra berths will be added to create more family-friendly four-berth staterooms, while every room will have a new flat panel TV fitted, along with quality bed linen, duvets and cushions and wi-fi accessibility.

Technical work will include the addition of energy efficient silicone paint to the hull and the installation of new technology, including a new digital propulsion system and reverse osmosis plant.

Passengers can follow Pacific Pearl’s refurbishment progress on the ship’s blog at and at

Jenny Lourey, Senior Vice President of Carnival Australia, which operates P&O Cruises, said Pacific Pearl would offer an amazing range of facilities for passengers.

“Not only will Pacific Pearl have a new Big Screen, she’ll also offer a range of popular features from across our existing fleet – including a Pacific Cirque aerial circus rig, a Salt Grill by Luke Mangan fine dining restaurant and the private Oasis retreat,” Ms Lourey said.

“We think New Zealanders will love her and we’re very excited that she’ll be the first cruise ship to be launched in the country – by our first NZ godmother, Barbara Kendall.

"We're looking forward to celebrating with New Zealanders at the Pacific Island Christmas Family Festival public event on December 21 at Queens Wharf."

Pacific Pearl will be based in Auckland for her first season in 2010/11, sailing five cruises around the Pacific Islands before redeploying to Sydney in early February for her maiden Australian season.

Earlybird offer: cruises start from $999* per person twin-share on Pacific Pearl’s 8-night South Pacific cruise departing from Auckland on January 18, 2012 travelling to Isle of Pines, Lifou and Noumea.

For more information, or to book, contact a licensed travel agent, call P&O Cruises on 0800 780 716 or visit


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