One of our oldest cruise lines, P&O Australia, is set to close and merge into Carnival Cruise Line next year.


The shock move was announced today in a statement saying: “The world’s largest cruise company, today announced that in March 2025, the company will sunset the P&O Cruises Australia brand and fold the Australia operations into Carnival Cruise Line, the most popular cruise line in the world.”

And in an exclusive interview, Carnival President Christine Duffy blamed Australia and New Zealand’s regulation regime and rising costs for the closure. Read our exclusive interview here.


The Pacific Encounter and Pacific Adventure ships will be rebranded and operated by Carnival Cruise Line brand. Pacific Explorer will exit the fleet in February of 2025.

P&O Australia recently celebrated 90 years of saiings. It’s first journey from Sydney was 1932.

The brand is deeply engrained in the Australian cruise industry and the move is bound to cause sadness and shock among Australians fiercely loyal to the brand. it was known as the “kindergarden” because so many started cruising on the ships.

The statement maintained it was “the latest in a series of strategic moves designed to increase guest capacity for Carnival Cruise Line, the company’s flagship brand and the highest-returning brand in Carnival Corporation’s global portfolio.”

The statement quoted Josh Weinstein, chief executive officer of Carnival Corporation & plc, as saying: “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 went on: “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 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% of the market.”

Together with Costa Cruises folding three vessels into Carnival, this will mean eight new ships for Carnival Cruise Lines.

“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,” Weinstein said.

Current itineraries will operate business as usual, and guests will be notified in the coming days 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 the market, including Sydney-based Carnival Splendor and Carnival Luminosa sailing seasonally from Brisbane, in addition to their new sister ships 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, president of Carnival Cruise Line.

“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 program and promotional offerings specific to Carnival ships sailing in the region.”

“Over the coming months, we will find ways to celebrate and honor P&O Cruises Australia – a valued part of our legacy and an important contributor to the tourism industry in the South Pacific,” said Weinstein. “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 Corporation & plc is the largest global cruise company, and among the largest leisure travel companies, with a portfolio of world-class cruise lines – AIDA Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, P&O Cruises (Australia), P&O Cruises (UK), Princess Cruises, and Seabourn.

Additional information can be found on www.carnivalcorp.com.

Main photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images for P&O Australia