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Carnival Cruises moves both its ships to America, blaming two years of federal government inaction

Just one day after announcing one of its vessels would be pulled out of Australia because of the Federal Government’s continued cruise ban, Carnival Cruises today announced its second and last ship would also leave Australia for American waters.

A statement from America also revealed the Carnival Spirit, which was to have sailed out of Brisbane from a brand new terminal, would not return until October, 2023.

Carnival has spent a decade building its “Fun Ship” family brand among Australian families, so the news will be another devastating  blow for the local industry, already reeling from two years of the cruise ban and facing the fact that the government is likely to continue it on February 17.

The Carnival Splendor will  be repositioned to America along with the Carnival Spirit.

Carnival cancelled sailings on the Splendor between June 10 to September 26. The cruise line has also cancelled the Carnival Spirit’s sailings from June 5 through till October 5, 2023.

“Our very loyal guests and our fleet of popular ships are strengths to our advantage as we adapt to the changing opportunities and circumstances,” said Christine Duffy, president of Carnival Cruise Line U.S.

Carnival Cruise Line said in its statement it would resume operations in Australia when government officials can provide clarity.

The company statement said:

“Carnival Cruise Line is notifying guests and travel advisors of changes to its fleet deployment plan as it continues to implement its successful restart of guest operations in the U.S and adjusts for the continued uncertainty of cruising in Australia with operations still on pause.

“Carnival Spirit will move to Jacksonville to take over the March 7, 2022, restart in Jacksonville, operating the previously scheduled Carnival Ecstasy itineraries. Carnival is cancelling planned operations of Carnival Splendor from June 10, 2022, through September 26, 2022, and of Carnival Spirit from June 5, 2022, to October 5, 2023.

“Carnival is now announcing the following updates: Australia: Carnival is cancelling planned operations of Carnival Splendor from June 10, 2022, through September 26, 2022, and of Carnival Spirit from June 5, 2022, to October 5, 2023.

“Details for a two-ship return to Australia will be announced when they are confirmed.”

Queensland had been counting on Carnival Spirit as a trail blazer for its new port facilities.

“Carnival said in comments to media outlets in that state: ” The decision to deploy Carnival Spirit in the US while awaiting clarity from federal and state governments on the resumption of cruising in Australia in no way diminishes our commitment to the Australian market and Queensland in particular.

“As Australia’s largest cruise organisation, we support Queensland’s trajectory as the nation’s cruising capital with our cruise lines having based ships in Brisbane for years along with Carnival Australia underwriting the state-of-the-art Brisbane International Cruise Terminal.

“Amid the continuing uncertainty in Australia, Carnival Spirt’s deployment is purely a business decision to operate the ship in an international market where the recovery of cruising is well advanced and likely to be replicated here once authorities commit to a restart plan.

“With more cruise destinations than any other state in Australia, Queensland is uniquely placed to support the phased resumption of domestic cruising with flow on benefits for hard hit cruise industry suppliers and regional economies.

“The state government has an opportunity to take a leadership role in supporting the federal government’s lifting of the cruise ban currently due to expire on February 17.”

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet has already called for the cruise industry to be re-opened “as soon as we can, as safely as possibly”, adding the ban was costing $5 billion and jobs.
“It’s an industry that has done it incredibly tough over the past couple of years,” he said.