P&O Cruises will become the first cruise line to visit Moreton Island, famous for its spectacular marine life and sand dunes, with the superliner Pacific Jewel scheduled to call there in March next year.
The waters off Moreton Island are teeming with dolphins, whales, dugongs, manta rays and stingrays, while the island itself offers adventure land-based activities, from sand-tobogganing to quad bike tours.
P&O Cruises has scheduled six cruises to Moreton Island next year, each featuring a one-day call to the island as part of a four-night trip from Sydney. Prices start from $429 per person quad share, with the maiden visit on March 16.
Situated 60km north-east of Brisbane, Moreton Island is the world's third largest sand island and is home to the Tangalooma Resort, which will provide passengers with activities each time the ship visits, including a beach festival with live music and food tastings.
Experiences will range from dolphin-feeding, to canoeing and snorkelling, while the resort will also offer options including tours to the spectacular Champagne Pools and Honeymoon Bay, sand-duning, quad bike tours and bird-watching.
Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia which operates P&O Cruises, said she was thrilled to be taking Australians to a new destination.
"Moreton Island is on our doorstep, but there are still so many Australians that have never been there. It's a gorgeous island, packed with lots of exciting nature adventure activities so I think our passengers will love it," Ms Sherry said.
She said the new destination at Moreton Island was "another feather in the cap" for Queensland, Australia's second biggest cruise state after NSW. A recent Deloitte Access Economics report showed that cruising contributed $166.4 million to Queensland in 2010-11, with that number forecast to reach $340.8 million in 2019-20.
"Over the coming summer cruise season, Carnival Australia will have two ships based in Brisbane - P&O Cruises' Pacific Dawn and Princess Cruises' Sun Princess - plus a further 14 ships from across our fleets will be visiting the state from now to the end of April," Ms Sherry said.
"In all, there'll be 102 calls from our ships to ports stretching from Brisbane to Thursday Island."