CCL to absorb P&O Australia

2024-06-15T19:33:18+00:00 June 15th, 2024|Marketing|

Carnival Corp is to close its P&O Cruises Australia brand and bring the Australian operations into Carnival Cruise Line (CCL).

This switch, due to occur in March next year, is the latest in a series of moves designed to increase CCL’s guest capacity, the company’s flagship brand and the highest-returning company in Carnival Corp’s global portfolio, it said.

This will result in the addition of eight ships to CCL’s fleet since 2021, which includes the moving of three vessels from sister brand Costa Cruises.

In addition, the company recently placed its first new ship order in half a decade for two new ‘Excel’ class cruise ships, which will 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.

“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,” he said.

In addition to further optimising the composition of Carnival Corp’s global brand portfolio, the realignment will strengthen the company’s performance in the South Pacific through numerous 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,” Weinstein added.

“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 Corp 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,” he stressed.

As a result of P&O Cruises Australia being re-branded early next year, while the ‘Pacific Encounter’ and ‘Pacific Adventure’ will be operated by CCL. ‘Pacific Explorer’ will leave the fleet in February, 2025.

Current itineraries will operate as usual, and guests will be notified 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 this market, including Sydney-based ‘Carnival Splendor’ and ‘Carnival Luminosa’, sailing seasonally from Brisbane, in addition to their new sisterships ‘Encounter’ and ‘Adventure’.

“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,” said Christine Duffy, CCL’s President.

“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.

“The most notable change will be the availability of our popular HubApp, enabling guests to make online dining and excursion reservations, request food and beverage delivery, and chat with other guests, among other features. P&O Cruises Australia guests will also be invited to participate in Carnival’s loyalty programme and promotional offerings specific to Carnival ships sailing in the region,” she explained.

“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 added.

“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.”

Carnival also stressed that this announcement did not impact P&O Cruises (UK), which is a separate Carnival Corp brand, based in England and dedicated to the UK market.

It was later announced that the ‘Pacific Explorer’ will be retired on 2nd March next year and will probably be sold.

P&O Cruises Australia issued a notice to customers last week saying, “As a result (of the merger with Carnival), all itineraries on ‘Pacific Explorer’ scheduled to sail after 2nd March, 2025 are being cancelled.”

It has also been reported that ‘Pacific Adventure’ and ‘Pacific Encounter’ are due to undergo upgrades before joining CCL.

According to reports, both vessels will be out of service for nearly two weeks while work is carried out.

“As part of this integration, the ‘Pacific Adventure’ and the ‘Pacific Encounter’ will be taken out of service for a technology upgrade and regrettably, your cruise has been cancelled to facilitate the work,” P&O Australia said in a letter to its guests.

All cruises scheduled to take place after April, 2025 on both vessels will be operated by CCL.