Pacific Dawn.
Photo courtesy of P&O Cruises
When a cruise line decides the time has come to jettison their older vessels, they usually end up scattered all over the globe, pressed into service for lines looking to expand in emerging markets.  P&O Cruises Australia is the lucky recipient of one such ship next month, though the event will actually reunite two former sister ships instead of separate them.

They are the former Crown Princess and Regal Princess – reunited again as Pacific Jewel and Pacific Dawn.

Originally ordered by Sitmar Cruises, the still under-construction vessels were transferred to Princess Cruises when P&O acquired Sitmar in 1988, which named them Crown Princess and Regal Princess.

With exteriors designed by Renzo Piano, they became distinct at an early age, and easily recognizable owing to their dolphin-like dome situated on top of the navigation bridge.  Internally, they were not much different from their distant sister ship – Sitmar Fairmajesty, later Star Princess – but outside, they were unrecognizable.

During their time with Princess, the two sister ships would quickly earn the reputation of being the most photographed cruise ships in the world during the early part of the 1990’s, thanks in large part to their unique exterior designs.  Many postcards, advertisements, and generic travel photography still features them to this day.

However, with the introduction of the Grand Princess in 1998 and the subsequent order two additional Grand-class vessels, the Crown Princess and Regal Princess began to look dated.  In 2002, Princess transferred Crown Princess to A’Rosa Cruises and began sailing as A’Rosa Blu.  In 2004, she was transferred again, this time to AIDA Cruises, which named her AIDAblu.  In 2007, she was passed along to Ocean Village, which called her Ocean Village Two.

Regal Princess, meanwhile, fared better.  She remained with Princess Cruises until 2007 before being transfered to P&O Australia where she debuted with much fanfare as Pacific Dawn.  Branded as Australia’s first superliner, she quickly became a hit down under.

Last October, Carnival Corporation & plc made the announcement that it intended to close their Ocean Village brand and transfer the remaining ships over to P&O Cruises Australia.  These included Ocean Village, formerly Star Princess and Sitmar Fairmajesty, as well as Ocean Village Two – the former Crown Princess.

After seven years apart, the distinctive sister ships will once again be reunited to sail under one cruise line.  Ocean Village Two will be renovated and renamed Pacific Jewel, and will be home ported in Sydney.

For more information about the ships, their itineraries, and fares, visit P&O Cruises Australia 


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