The 1,200-passenger ship, which was Holland America Line’s Statendam before transferring to P&O Australia, is making a 44-night voyage to Tilbury.
She becomes the fifth ship to join Cruise & Maritime Voyages, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
Following in the wake of the famous Portuguese explorer she is named after, she will visit Malaysia, Thailand, Mumbai, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco.
Voyage fully booked
The voyage is fully booked, including all 40 solo cabins, with half of the passengers coming from Australia and New Zealand.
MD Australia Dean Brazier said the remainder of passengers come mainly from the UK, Germany and the US.
A renaming ceremony is due to take place in Bremerhaven on June 9 and the name of the godmother is yet to be announced.
After summer in Europe, Vasco da Gama will sail from Tilbury on October 9 on a 53-night voyage to Australia where she will homeport in Adelaide and Fremantle, replacing the 600-passenger Astor for the company’s annual 2019/2020 extended season.