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Carnival stamps out the P&O Australia cruise brand

The US group Carnival, the world’s largest cruise company, is restructuring its business in Australasia and discontinuing the P&O Cruises Australia brand.

The brand is to be integrated into the Australian activities of Carnival Cruise Line in March 2025, the Americans have now announced.

However, it is expressly emphasied that the change only relates to the Australian brand: “This announcement has no impact on P&O Cruises (UK), which is an independent brand of Carnival Corporation & plc based in England and focuses on the UK market,” it says.

P&O Cruises Australia’s exit is described as “the latest in a series of strategic moves” aimed at increasing the guest capacity of Carnival Cruise Line, the company’s flagship and most profitable brand. For example, eight new ships have been added to Carnival Cruise Line’s fleet from 2021, including three ships from sister brand Costa Cruises. In addition, the company recently ordered its first newbuild in half a decade: two new Excel-class cruise ships to be delivered in 2027 and 2028. The beneficiary of the order: the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg.

Carnival plans four ships in Australia

“While we have increased Carnival Cruise Line’s capacity by nearly 25% since 2019, including the acquisition of three ships from Costa Cruises, guest demand remains so strong that we are leveraging our scale in an even more meaningful way by integrating an entire brand into the world’s most popular cruise line,” said Josh Weinstein, Chief Executive Officer of Carnival Corporation & plc.

In 2019, Carnival Cruise Line accounts for 29% of the Group’s total capacity and is expected to account for approximately 35% once the integration announced today is complete. The Group also includes the brands Aida, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises (UK), Princess Cruises and Seabourn.

“P&O Cruises Australia is a storied brand with a great team and we are very proud of all that we have achieved together in Australia and across the region,” said Weinstein. “Given the small population in the South Pacific and significantly higher operating and regulatory costs, we are adapting our approach to drive the efficiencies we need to continue to deliver an incredible cruise experience for our guests in the region year-round.” Carnival intends to remain true to Australia: with 19 ships sailing to 78 destinations, it will continue to be the largest cruise operator in the region.

The P&O Cruises Australia brand includes the ships “Pacific Encounter” and “Pacific Adventure”, which are to be renamed. Carnival Cruise Line, which has been serving the South Pacific since 2013, will then have four ships on the market, including the Sydney-based “Carnival Splendor” and the “Carnival Luminosa,” which sail seasonally from Brisbane, in addition to their new sister ships “Encounter” and “Adventure.”

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