(1:30 p.m. AEST) -- The Cartoon Network is launching its first cruise ship, complete with cartoon-themed activities, entertainment, food and drinks -- but local cruisers seem more interested in its resemblance to Pacific Jewel, as revealed in artist’s impressions released last week. The images led to much speculation in Facebook groups over the weekend that the P&O ship had been sold.
According to unconfirmed media reports, the 11-deck, 2000-passenger, cartoon-themed ship is Pacific Jewel. A German publication, Schiffe und Kreuzfahrten stated: “Germans will know the ship, she was once serving as A-Rosa Blu, then became AIDAblu and left the German market in 2005 and has since driven for P&O Australia as Pacific Jewel.”
However, P&O has claimed the ship remains in the fleet and is in fact due to undergo a revamp this year ahead of its deployment from Auckland and Brisbane.
A cruise line spokesperson told Cruise Critic that Pacific Jewel appeared to have been used as a “canvas” for simulated artwork without P&O’s permission. “We have taken this issue up with the original source but the Pacific Jewel remains part of our fleet,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
In our recent interview with the head of P&O, Carnival Australia president Sture Myrmell, he said: "It's no secret we'll have bigger ships replacing some of the smaller ships over time."
Pacific Jewel is scheduled to kick off the line’s longest ever season home-porting from Auckland when it arrives late March before its planned Brisbane season starting in September.
Meanwhile, the mystery vessel, which will be named Cartoon Network Wave, is expected to be based in Singapore from late 2018. The ship is set to sail to 13 Asia-Pacific destinations including Australia, according to a media release by Turner, the global company behind Cartoon Network, which is partnering with Asia’s cruise line management firm Oceanic Group on the world-first project. Onboard experiences will feature characters from show such as The Powerpuff Girls, We Bare Bears, Adventure Time and Ben 10. Other attractions include a Toonix pool and a rope adventure park.
--By Louise Goldsbury, Australia Editor