P&O Australia have unveiled plans to offer chartered sailings to the privately owned Conflict Islands in Papua New Guinea as part of a bold new regional cruise programme. Commencing as early as 2016, the new PNG itineraries will give P&O passengers the opportunity to visit the Conflict Islands — which are thought to be one of the most remote island groups in the world.
Thanks to its growing fleet and strong capital investment, P&O Australia have secured a deal making them the only cruise line permitted to sail to the Conflict Islands — which have been held under freehold land ownership by entrepreneur, Ian Gowrie-Smith, for decades.
As part of the exclusive deal, P&O have planned a series of cruise sailings to the region between 2016 and 2018. The first visit to the Conflict Islands will take place in June 2016, when Pacific Jewel becomes the first commercial ocean liner to visit the Conflict Islands in the history of leisure cruising.
The Conflict Group consists of twenty-one uninhabited islands, each positioned around an expansive lagoon that’s home to one of the Earth’s most bio-diverse reef systems. The name ‘Conflict’ is stark contrast to the islands themselves, which are renowned for their idyllic natural beauty.
Working in direct partnership with Ian Gowrie-Smith’s Papua New Guinea based company, Archdale Pty Ltd — who are renowned for their conservationist efforts — P&O Australia has worked tirelessly to ensure its upcoming sailings don’t impact the untouched beauty of the region.
Sture Myrmell, senior vice president of P&O Australia, said: “We have been pioneering cruising in the Pacific for eight decades and are still discovering fantastic cruise destinations for our guests. Papua New Guinea is one of the most extraordinary places on earth and even though it’s our neighbour, its picturesque islands are relatively untraveled – until now.
“With the expansion of our fleet between 2015 and 2017, the destination and itinerary possibilities are endless. We’re taking modern Australian cruise holidays to the next level in the coming years – it’s a very exciting time for local cruising.”
The news of P&O’s expansion to the Conflict Islands comes just a week after the cruise line announced it is to begin offering sailings direct to Australia’s Fraser Island — which is thought to be another first for the cruise industry.
To keep up to date with latest news and information from P&O Australia, stay tuned to the Cruise1st Australia blog for further updates as they develop.
Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Michael Lawton and eGuideTravel.