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P&O Australia makes first scheduled call at Conflict Islands

Pacific Jewel at anchor off Panasesa
As reported in November, P&O Cruises Australia is the exclusive cruise partner of Ian Gowrie-Smith, owner of Conflict Islands in Papua New Guinea where the 2,000-passenger Pacific Jewel made history with a scheduled call last week.

Gowrie-Smith, an Australian-born UK-based entrepreneur, has freehold title to this remote coral atoll which is made up of 21 islands surrounding a spectacular lagoon in the Coral Sea. 

Although Oceanic Discoverer (now Coral Expedition’s Coral Discoverer) has been to Conflict Islands under charter, P&O Australia is the first cruise line to make a  scheduled call and has included the destination in 11 of its Papua New Guinea itineraries this year. 

Named after H.M. survey ship The Conflict which charted the islands in 1886, Conflict Islands have an incredible variety of marine life and reefs. When Pacific Jewel anchored off Panasesa, the main island, snorkelling and glass-bottom boat tours were the big attractions. 

P&O Cruises Australia’s president, Sture Myrmell, described Conflict Islands as an ‘undiscovered paradise’ and said it is exciting to put the destination within reach of Australian holidaymakers. 

‘Even though they are close to Australia, many of Papua New Guinea’s picturesque islands are rarely visited because they are difficult to access,’ Myrmell said.

‘Cruising really is the easiest way to see this stunning corner of the world, so we are thrilled to add the beautiful Conflict Islands to our great list of destinations.’