P&O Cruises Australia no more

Well, no sooner had we celebrated with you P&O Cruises Australia’s fabulous history on the recent launch of A Photographic History of P&O Cruises, and the great contribution P&O Cruises makes to the local WA economy, when we received news P&O Cruises are to be no more!

Pacific Explorer in Fremantle’s inner harbour. Supplied by P&O Cruises Australia

Carnival Corporation, the world’s largest cruise company, yesterday announced a ‘strategic shift to further leverage its scale and strengthen its performance in Australia and the South Pacific’. Or as the ABC in Australia has just reported, ‘US Investors help to kill off beloved Australian brand P&O’.

In March 2025, the company will ‘sunset’ the P&O Cruises Australia brand and fold the Australia operations into Carnival Cruise Line, which has served the South Pacific since 2013 and Carnival says is the world’s most popular cruise line.

When the transition is complete early next year, the Pacific Encounter and
Pacific Adventure ships will begin sailing under the Carnival Cruise Line brand while the Pacific Explorer will exit the fleet at that time. So, no more Fremantle.

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.

According to Josh Weinstein, chief executive officer of Carnival Corporation, the company ‘remains committed’ to Australia and the South Pacific. With Carnival Cruise Line’s four ships in the market, including three year-round ships – Sydney-based Carnival Splendor and Carnival Adventure, and Brisbane based Carnival Encounter – as well as Carnival Luminosa sailing seasonally from Brisbane, Carnival Corporation says it will have seven cruise lines sailing 19 ships calling on 78 destinations and representing a whopping, almost 60% of the market in 2025.

“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,” Mr Weinstein said.

“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.”

“In making this important announcement we recognise that P&O Cruises Australia is much loved across the region, having been dedicated to local operations for over 90 years, delighting guests and being welcomed by destinations across the region. We value the pride our P&O Cruises guests, employees, travel partners, public officials and destinations have in our company, and we will find ways to celebrate and honour P&O Cruises Australia in the coming months,” said Weinstein.

P&O Cruises Australia will continue operations until March of 2025.

Carnival Corporation has a portfolio of cruise lines our readers will be familiar with, including – AIDA Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises (UK) (which is unaffected by this announcement), Princess Cruises, and Seabourn.

Pacific Explorer departing Freo in April 2023

P&O Cruises Australia have advised Fremantle Shipping News that –

The exit of Pacific Explorer from the fleet in February 2025 means cruises planned beyond this date will be cancelled. Pacific Explorer guests affected by this announcement have received direct communication from us and offered full refunds.
Future itineraries for Adventure and Encounter are already published out to 30 June 2026. As deployments beyond those published are planned, itineraries in all markets are reviewed which will include exploring possibilities in Fremantle, however, Western Australia is an expensive region to operate in.
P&O Cruises and Carnival Corporation thank Fremantle Ports and all our loyal West Australian guests for choosing to cruise with us, and we look forward to continue welcoming you on board the Pacific Explorer through to February next year.
Pacific Explorer will leave the P&O Cruises’ fleet towards the end of February 2025, with the last cruise being 11-night cruise X508 to Singapore, departing Fremantle on 7 February 2025.

So, in short –
* There is no change until February 2025.
* From March 2025, Brisbane’s Pacific Encounter will rebrand to Carnival Encounter and will stay home-ported in Brisbane, and Sydney’s Pacific Adventure will rebrand to Carnival Adventure and will stay home-ported in Sydney.
* Pacific Explorer will exit the fleet in February 2025.
* The P&O Cruises Australia brand and its legacy will be celebrated and honoured.
* All guests on any upcoming cruise, both prior and post March 2025 are being communicated with directly.

Well, there it is folks. The anchor is nearly weighed. P&O Cruises Australia have all but departed our Aussie and Freo shores, and we are less likely than ever to see Carnival Cruise liners in Freo as ‘Western Australia is an expensive region to operate in’.

By Michael Barker, Editor, and Jean Hudson, Shipping News Correspondent, Fremantle Shipping News


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