Carnival Corporation to shut down iconic P&O Cruises Australia after 90 years

Max Corstorphan
The Nightly
P&O Cruises Australia will shut down in 2025.
P&O Cruises Australia will shut down in 2025. Credit: P&O Cruises

Popular cruise company P&O Cruises Australia will be leaving Australian shores permanently after 90 years.

Miami-based parent company Carnival Corporation announced that P&O Cruises Australia will fold into Carnival Cruise Line by March 2025.

This decision is part of a series of measures to bolster Carnival Cruise Line’s capacity it attempts to streamline.

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“We’re leveraging our scale in an even more meaningful way by absorbing an entire brand into the world’s most popular cruise line,” Carnival Corporation chief executive Josh Weinstein said.

“This strategic realignment not only enhances operational efficiencies but also underscores our commitment to delivering exceptional cruise experiences to our guests globally.”

Mr Weinstein said the realities of the cruising in the South Pacific meant change was required.

“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.“

Mr Weinstein said Carnival Corporation “remains committed” to the Australian market and new ships were be on the way.

“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,” he said.

As part of the transition, the Pacific Encounter and Pacific Adventure ships will be rebranded and operated under the Carnival Cruise Line banner, while the Pacific Explorer will exit the fleet in February 2025.

Carnival Cruise Line president Christine Duffy flagged changes for the old P&O ships.

“We look forward to bringing some of our innovations to more cruise guests in the region,” said Ms Duffy.

“While there will be some changes, including the availability of our popular HubApp, we remain committed to delivering exceptional experiences tailored to the preferences of our guests in the South Pacific.”

Current itineraries will operate business as usual, and guests will be notified in the coming days of any changes to future bookings.

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