(5 p.m. AEST) – Dora the Explorer named P&O’s latest addition to the fleet by breaking a giant bottle piñata in front of 120 kids and her Nickelodeon friends including SpongeBob SquarePants, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Skye from PAW Patrol.
P&O Cruises president Sture Myrmell was slimed by four honorary junior 'mini-me' crew members - a Kid Captain, Snack Boss, DJ Cruisin’ and Chief Entertainment Officer -- who won a competition to lead the festivities.
During its recent dry dock Pacific Explorer emerged with new features such as the longest waterslides on an Australian cruise ship and an interactive water park, an outdoor lawn bowling green, the P&OEdge adventure ground, Luke Mangan’s gourmet burger bar and the Southern Cross livery emblazoned on the hull.
Onboard today with Captain Roger Bilton, children had an opportunity to play with SpongeBob SquarePants and Patrick Star in the waterpark and watched Patchy the Pirate get a birds-eye view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House from an 80-metre zip line. The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles also surprised guests at the ship’s 400 Gradi pizzeria along with NSW junior surfing champion Sabre Norris.
Myrmell said Pacific Explorer’s official naming ceremony was a fitting celebration of P&O’s latest ship and its many onboard features.
“Two thirds of our passengers are families and couples so it made sense for fun loving children and families to lead the celebrations while sampling all that Pacific Explorer has to offer,” Myrmell said. “Pacific Explorer is the fifth ship in our fleet and the next stage in the evolution of P&O’s very popular modern Australian holiday offering. With more than 60 activities to do every day, the ship has something for every Australian from the young to the young at heart”.
Vice president and general manager of Nickelodeon Australia and New Zealand Ben Cox was delighted that Nickelodeon characters were part of the festivities and Dora was selected to be godmother.
“Dora the Explorer is one of Australia’s most loved household names and is a family favourite who enjoys adventure and trying new activities. For all these reasons she is the perfect godmother for Pacific Explorer. We know that children love Dora and all her friends at Nickelodeon and we’ve been thrilled to make hundreds of kids dreams come true by giving them the chance to meet their favourite characters onboard P&O’s latest ship,” Cox said.
Pacific Explorer’s cruises include a three-night food and wine itinerary departing Sydney on 21 September with fares starting from $369 per person twin share on the Explorer Sale.
--By Louise Goldsbury, Australia Editor; Photos by Tim Faircloth, I Love Cruising