Carnival To Sunset P&O Cruises Australia Brand, Absorb It Into CCL

4 Jun 2024

Carnival Corporation, the world's largest cruise company, has announced that effective March 2025, it will sunset the P&O Cruises Australia brand and fold the Australia operations into Carnival Cruise Line. 

P&O Cruises - Figure 1
Photo TravelPulse Canada

The company says the change is the latest in a series of strategic moves designed to increase guest capacity for Carnival Cruise Line, the company's flagship brand and the highest-returning brand in Carnival Corporation's global portfolio.

This will result in the addition of eight new ships to Carnival Cruise Line's fleet since 2021, including the successful shift of three vessels from sister brand Costa Cruises. Carnival Corp. also recently placed its first new ship order in half a decade for two new Excel-class cruise ships to join CCL in 2027 and 2028.

"Despite increasing Carnival Cruise Line's capacity by almost 25% since 2019 including transferring three ships from Costa Cruises, guest demand remains incredibly strong so we're leveraging our scale in an even more meaningful way by absorbing an entire brand into the world's most popular cruise line," said Josh Weinstein, Carnival Corp. CEO.

“For the industry and certainly for us, the demand profile is unprecedented.” – Josh Weinstein, Carnival Corp. & plc. (Photo by Brian Major)

"In 2019, Carnival Cruise Line was 29% of our total capacity, and when we complete this move early next year, Carnival Cruise Line – our highest-returning brand – will make up approximately 35% of our total global capacity. While our company's overall growth between 2019 – 2028 is projected to be less than 2% (CAGR), the majority will be for Carnival Cruise Line, which will grow by approximately 50% over that time period."

Weinstein says the realignment will also bring operational efficiencies.

"P&O Cruises Australia is a storied brand with an amazing team, and we are extremely proud of everything we have accomplished together in Australia and the broader region," said Weinstein

"However, given the strategic reality of the South Pacific's small population and significantly higher operating and regulatory costs, we're adjusting our approach to give us the efficiencies we need to continue delivering an incredible cruise experience year-round to our guests in the region. Carnival Corporation & plc remains committed to Australia and we will continue to be the largest cruise operator in the region with 19 ships calling on 78 destinations and representing almost 60% of the market."

As the P&O Cruises Australia brand retires early next year, the Pacific Encounter and Pacific Adventure ships will be rebranded and operated by Carnival Cruise Line brand. Pacific Explorer will exit the fleet in February of 2025. Current itineraries will operate business as usual, and guests will be notified in the coming days of any changes to future bookings as a result of this announcement.

When the transition is complete next year, Carnival Cruise Line – which has served the South Pacific since 2013 – will have four ships in the market, including Sydney-based Carnival Splendor and Carnival Luminosa sailing seasonally from Brisbane, in addition to their new sister ships Encounter and Adventure.

The announcement does not impact P&O Cruises (UK), which is a separate Carnival Corporation & plc brand based in England and dedicated to the UK market.

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