Regal Princess becomes the Pacific Dawn

THE final touches have been added to Australia’s new resident cruise ship Pacific Dawn for its gala christening in Circular Quay.

Officers and crew have worked tirelessly to ensure the former US-based 2050-passenger superliner, previously called the Regal Princess, is ship-shape for party celebrations which will include a light and sound spectacular.

Olympic gold medallist Cathy Freeman will perform the traditional breaking of the champagne bottle from the top deck, which will be watched by 600 invited guests and thousands more fans who will line the East Circular Quay and Opera House precincts.

Christine Anu will entertain the crowd from the ship’s pool deck.

After 16 years taking predominantly American passengers on cruises of the Caribbean, the sleek Italian-designed 70,000-tonne Pacific Dawn, which has been berthed at White Bay, will begin life in the South Seas with striking Australian flavours.

P&O Cruises has refurbished a vessel that prides itself on its spectacular The Dome entertainment area, five dining areas, nine bars and lounges, a two-storey show lounge and a three-storey atrium.

Pacific Dawn – which measures more than two football fields – has facilities to meet the needs of everyone from children to grandparents.

On its recent cruise from an extensive drydock makeover in Singapore, many hours were put into baking and creating an elaborate pastry display to welcome tonight’s guests.

A highlight of the display is a model of the Sydney Opera House which Swiss baker Thomas Felder said took several attempts to get right.

There’s also a tribute to the Hunter Valley winegrowing region.

The cruise ship’s Italian captain Fabio Amitrano is no stranger to Australia – he began his seafaring days with Sitmar aboard popular cruise ships such as the Fairstar.

The celebrations begin at 8.30pm and the best vantage points are East Circular Quay and near the Opera House.

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