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World's Leading Cruise Lines news—from Playstation VR on P&O to possible S. Pacific Fathom product

The Holland America Line team - Beth Bodensteiner with the company's director of sales in Australia, Tony Archbold, left, and Joe Slattery (Photo: Helen Hutcheon)
P&O Cruises Australia’s vp marketing and sales Simon Cheng released details of an exclusive partnership with Sony Interactive Entertainment Australia at the 2016 World’s Leading Cruise Lines biennial Partnership Summit aboard Carnival Spirit.

Cheng said Sony’s PlayStation VR will give P&O passengers Australia’s first virtual reality experience at sea.

The technology will roll out across the fleet over the next 12 months, starting with Pacific Jewel later this year.

Cheng also announced P&O will make its first call to the Kimberley at Kuri Bay, north of Broome and home to the biggest of the Paspaley pearl farms, next year.

Cunard vp international development, David Rousham, said with both P&O Cruises World Cruising’s Arcadia and Aurora sailing on world voyages next year, Aurora has attracted 60% of total Australian world cruise bookings for the brand.

Rousham said Aurora’s 2017 global circumnavigation will mark 180 years of heritage for the line and that the 103-night itinerary has been inspired by the trade routes of the British Empire.

Special events on board will include a 180th anniversary ball and gala dinner.

Joe Slattery, svp global marketing and sales for Holland America Line, who travelled to the Partnership Summit with the company’s svp revenue management Beth Bodensteiner, confirmed Australia is still the No. 1 source market outside North America.

Slattery said the company’s target passenger is a ‘globe-trotting learner,’ someone who wants more from a voyage than a suntan.

Tara Russell, president of social impact company Fathom, said her line also caters for people who want a great deal more than an ordinary cruise.

Fathom's sailings aboard P&O's 704-passenger Adonia to Cuba foster cultural exchange, while those to the Dominican Republic give the opportunity to work side-by-side with local residents in existing programmes that focus on improving the lives of children, families and communities.

Russell revealed she is having preliminary talks with Carnival Australia’s executive chairman, Ann Sherry, and vp corporate affairs Sandy Olsen about the possibility of Fathom reaching into the South Pacific.