(12:00 p.m. GMT) -- Cruise & Maritime Voyages will add P&O Cruises Australia's Pacific Pearl to its fleet in 2017.
The current 1,800-passenger ship will undergo a significant refurbishment -- including the addition of 150 single cabins which will reduce its capacity -- and be renamed Columbus.
When the ship launches on June 9, 2017 as the flagship of CMV’s current four-ship fleet, it will carry around 1,400 passengers in 775 cabins.
Pacific Pearl will leave the P&O Cruises Australia fleet in April 2017, having completed 294 cruises for the line, carrying more than half a million passengers over five years.
Pacific Pearl will be 30 years old when it joins the CMV fleet. It has had a fascinating history, starting life as Sitmar Fair Majesty in 1987, before being renamed Star Princess and christened by Hollywood actress Audrey Hepburn in 1989.
It transferred to the P&O Cruises fleet in 1997 as Arcadia, replacing Canberra.
The ship will go through a dry dock with some refurbishment and re-livery works in Singapore in April and early May 2017 before positioning to the UK, being renamed and starting its inaugural CMV ex-UK 2017 cruise season.
Planned upgrade works will include some refurbishment to the cabins and public areas plus:
• Conversion of the HQ Teen Center into the maritime-themed Columbus Lounge & Library.
• Conversion of the Shark Shack & Turtle Cove Children’s Center into Trumps & Aces -- a dedicated Bridge & Card Room area and also a separate Crafter's Studio.
Homeporting year round from Tilbury, Columbus will be dedicated to the British cruise market and will target adult-only cruisers (16yrs plus), with the exception of two all-age departures in August 2017.
--By Adam Coulter, UK Editor