P&O cruise ships set to dock in Gladstone

GLADSTONE is set to take its place as a regular cruise destination for P&O Cruises, following the expansion of the cruise line's fleet to five ships.

In a major boost for local tourism, four calls to Gladstone are included in P&O Cruises' new 2015-16 cruise schedule, launched on Tuesday.

Each visit will occur during cruises from Sydney, which will also call at Moreton Island and Mooloolaba.

The cruises, scheduled from May to August 2016, have great potential to open up the Southern Great Barrier Reef experience, highlighting spectacular local attractions in the Gladstone area.

P&O also has announced it will base a second ship in Brisbane.

Pacific Aria and Pacific Dawn will sail on a record 85 cruises from Brisbane from November 2015 to September 2016.

P&O Cruises CEO Ann Sherry said Queensland was central to the growth of the nation's cruise industry.

"P&O Cruises pioneered cruise operations in Brisbane, having based a cruise ship in the city year round since 2004, and has introduced many thousands of Queenslanders to the delights of cruise holidays," Ms Sherry said.

"Gladstone is among a number of regional ports that will now take their place as regular cruise destinations benefiting from visits from thousands of cruise travellers.

"We know that the Gladstone community has looked forward to this development and their support is warmly appreciated."

Gladstone the gateway to the Southern Great Barrier Reef with direct access to Heron Island, Lady Musgrave Island and the historic town of 1770.

Passengers also will be welcomed by the $42 million foreshore re-development which will provide a world class family and lifestyle precinct. 

The Brisbane deployment of the 1500-passenger Pacific Aria will enable P&O Cruises to offer a wider choice of holidays from the city, including more extensive South Pacific voyages, more short-break themed cruises and Queensland coastal cruises, which will benefit regional ports. 

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