Carnival has made a major appointment ahead of what is expected to be a resumed cruise season in Australia early next year – moving an Australian tourism expert from the Boston Consulting Group into the hot seat.

Marguerite Fitzgerald, who graduated from uni in Melbourne, will become President of Carnival Australia and P&O Australia on January 10.

Current president of Carnival Australia Sture Myrmell, a familiar figure among cruise industry heads for two decades, is leaving to become President of Carnival UK and, temporarily, President of Carnival’s luxury line Cunard.

Ms Fitzgerald headed up the Boston Consulting Group’s global lodging and leisure practice, as well as its strategy business.

The company’s website describes her as ” a core member of the Corporate Finance & Strategy and Consumer practices for the firm.”

She has worked across travel and tourism industries, including cruise lines in Australia, Asia, Europe, the US, the Middle East, and the Caribbean.

She will be based in Sydney and report to Holland America Group president Jan Swartz.

Said Ms Swartz: “Marguerite is a trusted global authority in the travel and tourism industry, with extensive expertise in the worldwide cruise passenger market, including direct experience working in the Australian and New Zealand region.

“With the insight she brings from consulting with some of the world’s most well-known travel and tourism companies, including several of our brands, she is uniquely qualified to make a strong contribution to Carnival Australia’s continued success.”

Carnival’s chief operations officer, Josh Weinstein, who also has responsibility for Carnival UK, said of Mr Myrmell’s appointment:  “Sture is a two-decade-plus veteran at our company, so we look forward to him bringing his deep experience, excellent leadership skills and proven track record of success to a new leadership opportunity.

“He will play a crucial role in our success in the UK, and we look forward to his contributions as we deliver to our guests the best vacation experiences in the world.”

Ms Fitzgerald arrives at a time when Australia is the last remaining major cruise country which has no cruising.

The government only recently reimposed its ban on foreign flagged vessels and is refusing to hold concrete talks with Cruise Lines International Association Australasia until the pandemic has been brought under control and numbers are down.

The move in the country which boasted the largest cruise numbers per head of the population has been greeted with dismay, with Carnival moving its sailings to January and cancelling many itineraries.

That said, Ms Fitzgerald will be inheriting lines which have new vessels and loyal followings.  Under Mr Myrmell, P&O Australia and Carnival Cruises have both acquired new ships for the season and have strengthened the appeal of their brands.

Princess, once Australia’s favourite premium cruise line with the most year-round vessels based in Australia, was about to start sailing some of its most modern ships in our waters.