Beloved Aussie cruise brand about to shut, merge into parent company

Beloved Aussie cruise brand about to shut, merge into parent company

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Australian cruise line brand P&O is about to disappear, with its parent company announcing it will fold the brand into Carnival Cruise Line early next year.

Describing P&O as a “storied brand with an amazing team”, Carnival said sunsetting the company in March next year was a necessary cost-saving exercise.

“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 chief executive Josh Weinstein said.

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P&O Cruises Australia's flagship Pacific Explorer passes under the Harbour Bridge on its first guest cruise following the restart of cruising in Australia on May 31, 2022.

“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 per cent of the market.”

The move will see two of P&O’s cruise liners – the Pacific Encounter and Pacific Adventure – come under the control of Carnival Cruise Line, meaning there will be four of the company’s ships serving the South Pacific market.

P&O’s other ship, the Pacific Explorer, will be retired in February.

Carnival said current itineraries will be run as usual, and that any guests whose future bookings will change as a result of folding P&O will be notified in the coming days.

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“We look forward to building on the history and heritage of P&O Cruises Australia by bringing some of our innovations to more cruise guests in the region,” Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy said.

“While we plan to make some technology upgrades and other small changes to the two P&O Cruises Australia ships, they will continue to be geared to the unique Australian market with a familiar feel and much of the same experiences for P&O Cruises Australia guests.”

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The Carnival cruise line ship Carnival Magic sits docked on April, 2020, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. The US Coast Guard said  that it's searching for a man who fell from the cruise ship off the coast of Florida.

Carnival said P&O customers will be invited to its own loyalty program.

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“Over the coming months, we will find ways to celebrate and honour P&O Cruises Australia – a valued part of our legacy and an important contributor to the tourism industry in the South Pacific,” Weinstein said.

“We value the connection our P&O Cruises Australia guests, employees, travel advisor partners, public officials and destinations have with our company and are committed to building on this association moving forward as Carnival.”

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