Launched – ‘A Photographic History of P&O Cruises’

An exclusive book launch of A Photographic History of P&O Cruises took place on board P&O’s Pacific Explorer on Friday 19 April, while she was berthed at Fremantle’s Passenger Terminal.

The book by Chris Frame, Rob Henderson, Doug Cremer and Rachelle Cross celebrates the rich heritage and evolution of P&O Cruises through captivating imagery and storytelling. This revised edition of A Photographic History of P&O Cruises has been fully updated in 2024 to cover events of recent years including the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Pacific Explorer provided the perfect venue for the book launch event. The sun was shining and guests had stunning views of Fremantle’s Inner Harbour from the fourteenth deck.

The event was opened by Fremantle’s Deputy Mayor, Cr Jenny Archibald and followed with engaging presentations by Chris Frame and Rachelle Cross. Guests had the opportunity to chat with the authors and view a poster presentation of P&O Cruise ships.

P&O cruises play an important part in Australia’s maritime history and in shaping Australia’s modern cruise industry. P&O can trace its history back over 180 years. The book is a visual celebration of the company’s rich history. While cruising may look different these days from P&O’s first cruise back in 1932, the same spirit of homegrown cruising continues.

P&O or the Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company’s history goes much further back than 1932. In 1852, the first royal Mail steamer P&O’s Chusan, began a regular mail service between the UK and Australia.

Less than a century later, between 1945 and 1972, P&O transported more than a million migrants, the proverbial Ten Pound Poms, to Australia for the start of their new lives. With a fleet of liners, P&O was also instrumental in immigration to India and New Zealand.

After the advent of jet aircraft P&O turned its hand to cruising. Some of its most famous passenger ships were Oriana and Canberra. In Australia during the 1980s and 1990s, P&O held a near monopoly with their ship Fairstar. Today, P&O is part of the giant Carnival Corporation.

Following the book launch, guests were taken on a tour of the ship, through the various dining rooms, theatres and bars. We were shown the secret entrance to the bonded bar – for the serious drinkers on board. Crew had decorated the outside entertainment deck with white bunting for the White Party which will take place on the first night of the next 4-day cruise.

Pre-order the book from Amazon (release date 28 May, 2024) if you’d like a stroll down memory lane and to see how P&O played a role in building the Australia we have today. It will make a unique addition to any maritime library.

STORY by Jean Hudson @jeansodyssey. Jean is our Shipping Correspondent and also a regular feature writer and photographer here on the Shipping News. You may like to follow up her informative Places I Love stories, as well as other feature stories and Freo Today photographs, right here.


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