P&O Cruises has announced it will achieve a major milestone this month when its three millionth passenger steps onboard one of its ships.
The cruise line is celebrating the landmark with an unprecedented $3 million cash back campaign, giving passengers up to $200 cash back per cabin on cruises booked from September 17 to November 12, 2011.
The offer applies to departures from Brisbane, Sydney, Newcastle, Auckland and Fremantle with the cash back offer varying with the length of the cruise.
The three millionth passenger will be travelling on a cruise in late September, although their identity will not be able to be confirmed until closer to departure as final passenger lists are established.
Ann Sherry, CEO of Carnival Australia, which operates P&O Cruises, said the passenger landmark was testament to the enormous growth of cruising in Australia in recent years.
"It's a great achievement and we wanted to celebrate it with our passengers by giving them some extra holiday spending money," Ms Sherry said.
Ms Sherry said the cruise line had counted its passenger numbers back to the resumption of cruising after World War II, when detailed records were first archived, and had found that 30%of its three million passengers had travelled in the past four years.
"In fact almost half of our three million passengers have cruised with us since 2000, which really shows how much cruising has boomed in the 21st century," she said.
Pacific Sun has carried the most passengers of any ship in the present fleet with more than 500,000 holidaymakers hopping onboard in the seven years since the ship's arrival in 2004. Pacific Sun's achievement is only surpassed by P&O Cruises' Fairstar which carried 700,000 passengers over 23 years between 1965 and 1988.
Meanwhile the popular Pacific Dawn has carried 300,000 passengers - the same number as the original Oriana which cruised from Australia in the 1980s.