(3 a.m. AEST) -- P&O Cruises Australia's Pacific Encounter became the latest ship to return to service in Australia when it sailed on Saturday, August 20 out of its homeport in Brisbane.
The voyage also marked Pacific Encounter's first sailing as member of P&O Australia's fleet. The Carnival Corporation brand acquired the 2,600-passenger vessel in 2020 when it was transferred from sister brand Princess Cruises. Originally built in 2002, the ship was formerly known as Star Princess and underwent a major refurbishment before its arrival in Australia.
Pacific Encounter's maiden voyage consists of the seven-day Barrier Reef Discovery round trip sailing, featuring stops in Cairns and Willis Island.
The ships inaugural season in Brisbane will also feature international itineraries starting in October, with cruises visiting New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, and more.
Pacific Encounter is P&O Australia's second ship to resume service since the start of the pandemic, following Pacific Explorer's return in May when it sailed out of Sydney. The cruise line's third ship, Pacific Adventure, is scheduled to debut in October of this year, also sailing from Sydney. Similar to Pacific Encounter, Pacific Adventure formerly sailed for Princess Cruises as Golden Princess before being transferred to P&O Cruises Australia in 2020.