Trust P&O to offer a smorgasbord of sailings in January. There are food-and-wine short breaks, comedy cruises, trips to the tropical isles and coastal excursions to fascinating Aussie towns. Australia’s iconic cruise line, P&O ships have cruised the South Pacific, Tasman and Coral Seas since December 1932. But despite that long history, the company has never stood still. It has constantly revamped menus and dining spaces to match the latest trends, and added new entertainment and fun attractions. What do you say to zip-lining over the pool deck on a summer’s night? In November, P&O will welcome two new ships to the fleet, Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden. Fresh from a multi-million dollar makeover, their look will be understated elegance, with décor echoing the finest five-star hotels. One of the new features will be an intimate cinema screening new and classic movies, complete with a beverage service. Let’s drink to that as we look at the best P&O cruises in January 2016!
January 3, 2016: Pacific Aria 12 nights Fiji Adventure – departing Brisbane
Sailing away to five tropical isles on a beautifully refurbished cruise ship is a perfect way to start the new year. Settle in and make Pacific Aria your new home. Definitely head to the top-deck adults-only Oasis, a beautiful pool and relaxation space. First call is Port Vila, where there are many adventures on offer, from sea kayaking to abseiling down the fabulous Mele Cascades, as well as good duty-free shopping. Next stop is Port Denarau on Fiji’s west coast where great beaches and smart hotels are within easy reach. In Suva, why not have lunch or a drink in the newly re-opened Grand Pacific Hotel and breathe in the colonial history? On the way home, you can flop on beaches and snorkel all day at Mystery Island and beautiful Mare.
January 8, 2016: Pacific Pearl 3-night Food &Wine cruise – departing Sydney
Few can say no to good food and fine wine, and when mixed with three blissful days at sea, it’s a temptation too hard to resist. A themed food and wine cruise gives passengers the opportunity to taste premium vintages, attend cocktail and martini classes and take part in cooking demonstrations. This three-night cruise leaves Sydney on a Friday afternoon and returns Monday morning, so even those who’ve gone back to work after the Christmas break can enjoy a little sojourn. There are no ports of call, just three idyllic days of cruising on the open seas.
January 9, 2016: Pacific Eden 8-day Secrets of the South - departing Sydney
This little trip from Sydney really packs a punch. Not only will passengers be cruising on the beautifully refurbished Pacific Eden, they’ll be visiting two states and many wonderful attractions. When cruising out of Sydney on a summer’s afternoon, settle into the adults-only Oasis retreat and let the holiday begin in style. First port of call is Eden, once home to a whaling station and now a sleepy seaside town where whale watching is the main event. Then on to Victoria’s glorious Mornington Peninsula, home of great wineries and beaches. From there the ship cruises to Portland, Victoria’s first European settlement, before a quick hop over to Kangaroo Island. This wildlife paradise harbours its namesake as well as countless koalas. The southern beaches are havens for Australian sea lions and New Zealand fur seals.
January 11, 2016: Pacific Pearl 8 nights Getaway to Mare – departing Sydney
This is a January holiday that promises nothing but relaxation. Four carefree days are spent at sea as well as two days to do absolutely nothing on dreamy, near-deserted tropical isles. From Sydney, the Pacific Pearl makes its leisurely way north to Noumea, a French-inspired city in the middle of the South Pacific. Passengers are spoilt for choice here – they can take tours to Amedee Island for a day in the sun or check out the French fashions and perfumes in the downtown district. Then it’s on to Isle of Pines, perhaps the pick of islands in the Pacific for its gorgeous beaches and lagoons teeming with marine life. Tiny Mare is another blissful island; make sure you take the P&O tour to Yejele Beach for superb snorkelling.
January 24, 2016: Pacific Aria 5-night Australia Day cruise - departing Brisbane
What a great experience! To be berthed in the centre of Sydney Harbour amid all the amazing Australia Day celebrations. This will be the heart of the action, where ferry boats compete for line honours in races and ships big and small parade in all their colours. To be a passenger aboard one of P&O ships is an occasion to treasure for life. Departing Brisbane, the Pacific Aria will spend a day moseying down the NSW coast, giving passengers ample time to check out all the new features on this ship and perhaps groove to jazz and blues in the new Blue Room. It will be non-stop fun when Pacific Aria takes a ringside berth in the middle of Sydney Harbour and passengers have 360-degree views of all the harbour activities. Then when the party draws to a close, it will be on to Newcastle and homeward bound to Brisbane.
January 28, 2016: Pacific Jewel 5 nights A Taste of Tasmania – departing Melbourne
This mini-cruise may be just the perfect antidote to a hectic school holiday break. With five nights onboard, including three ports of call, it could well be that pick-me-up tonic before tackling the new working year. Once aboard Pacific Jewel, passengers will revel in the ship’s dazzling facelift and dine in the new funky Pantry, an ultra-modern space that has replaced the old buffet restaurant. First port on the agenda is the north-west Tasmanian town of Burnie, a branching-off point for tours to magnificent Cradle Mountain, or simply a place to explore at leisure. From there it’s on to Port Arthur, Tasmania’s most visited historic site, where passengers have a full day to walk among the old ruins. The last stop in Hobart, our southernmost capital city, where a trip to the acclaimed MONA museum is just a ferry ride away.