(1 p.m. EDT) -- P&O Cruises Australia has announced Pacific Encounter has officially joined its fleet, following the completion of maritime formalities.
The former Star Princess has now been repainted in its P&O branding after a drydock in Singapore, with 20-metre by eight-metre funnel logos and P&O's signature southern cross and new name painted on its bows.
“Pacific Encounter’s official entry to the fleet is a very exciting moment for P&O Cruises Australia and reflects our growing optimism and confidence in a bright future for Australia’s homegrown cruise line,” said Sture Myrmell, President of P&O Cruises Australia.
“This is also an opportunity for us to again thank the many P&O guests who have remained so loyal to the brand during such a challenging period.”
Pacific Encounter is currently in wet dock, undergoing renovations to bring the vessel in line with P&O Australia passenger expectations.
The transformation of Star Princess into Pacific Encounter was accelerated by the ongoing global health pandemic, with Princess Cruises opting to transfer the vessel to P&O Australia in 2020 rather than at the end of 2021, as previously scheduled.
The 2,600-passenger ship is tentatively scheduled to begin its first cruises for P&O Australia in May. Its sister-ship, Pacific Adventure (the ex-Golden Princess) is also expected to enter service in May.