Princess Cruises, Australia’s favourite line, has announced the Grand Princess will no longer sail in Australia for the 2025/2026 season.

This means Princess will have just two ships in the region, Crown Princess and Discovery Princess.

A range of Princess 2025/2026 sailings have been cancelled. And further sailings have been moved onto Crown and Discovery. Many cruisers’ holiday plans are suddenly in jeopardy after the shock news.

In a statement that seemed to suggest the move was a boon to Australian cruisers, the line said: “We know that Australians love to sail with Princess all over the world and with the expansion of our fleet with Sun Princess this year and Star Princess in 2025 comes many more opportunities to cruise with Princess.”

Last season four Princess ships were sailing in Australia: Majestic Princess, Royal Princess, Grand Princess and Coral Princess. The four ships totalled can hold up to 11,770 passengers.

For the 2025/2026 season, Princess will deploy Discovery Princess and Crown Princess. Together, they can hold just 6740 passengers, representing a 43% decrease.

In the 2021-2022 Australia season, Princess had five ships in Australian waters, including the debut of the Coral Princess.

The premium brand offered 95 different departure dates with homeport options in Brisbane and Sydney.

The Princess move is emblematic of a potentially tumultuous period in Australian cruising. Many major Australian cruise lines are reducing capacity. There are worries over decreasing cruise numbers in New Zealand as well.

Norwegian Cruise Lines, Virgin Voyages and Cunard have all recently withdrawn plans to homeport ships in Australia.

Grand Princess cruising the high seas
Grand Princess on the High Seas

Leading agent speaks out about the Princess 2025/2026 season

Michelle Feilberg, owner of Luxury Cruise and Travel and the administrator of a Princess Cruises Facebook Group with 8000 users says the news is not only a disappointment, but also part of a worrying trend.

“It is very disappointing to see a reduction of ships being homeported in Australia for the 2025/26 season. I don’t believe that there is one single driver, but rather a combination of a lack of infrastructure in Sydney which remains the most popular departure port, the increased port charges in Melbourne, and potentially a lack of variety in available ports of interest in the region.

“Whilst the CLIA 2024 State of the Industry report indicates that cruising is stronger than ever here in Australia, so too is that demand for key locations like the Caribbean and West Coast for North American Residents. There are also some amazing Europe/Mediterranean cruise itineraries also.”

Feilberg understands it feels ‘unfair’ that Aussies are seeing less ships coming despite high demand.

“It does feel unfair to have less ships coming, given the trend report, as well as sales, indicates strong demand. There are also signs that many ships are departing full.

“I administer a large Princess Cruises fan group on Facebook and know that many are prepared to book in advance, and appreciate the newer ships coming, whilst also still enjoying some of the older fleet favourites.”

Feilberg also says she’s seen disappointment from faithful passengers of other cruise lines as major lines lower their Australian deployments.

“Royal Caribbean fans, in particular, were very hopeful that if we were to only have two ships here this year. They were hopeful they would stay year-round, and were greatly disappointed when this didn’t eventuate.”

Smile you are on camera
Taking a picture on deck of a Princess ship

“It’s a horrible feeling” – cruiser reaction

Cruiser Carol Caton is feeling the brunt of the cancellations, after having one cruise moved and another cancelled due to the redeployment.

“It’s a horrible feeling – from being totally organised, to all of a sudden having to start again. And, unfortunately, a lot of cruises are booked out now over a similar period. I looked at four and none had any balconies available.”

Caton had a cruise to Papua New Guinea booked that has been outright cancelled. Another Tasmania cruise that was she was offered to change to a different date. But the date didn’t work for her plans.

“My Tasmania cruise was moved but they were making it mid-January instead of early December. It’s not my favourite time to cruise over school holidays in January, whereas the December dates would have missed the holidays.”

On the Grand Princess being moved to the Caribbean, Caton had this to say.

“I guess they are taking the ships where they think the big bucks are – disappointing but that’s the cruise industry.”

More comments from Princess cruisers

Another Aussie cruiser had seven back-to-back cruises booked, all of which have been now been cancelled.

“I have seven back-to-back on the Grand which all but one, a four-night cruise Vancouver to LA have been cancelled. And then 10 on the Discovery, not sure at this stage how many have been changed

“We are now scrambling to find out what we are going to do.”

Some cruisers like Darly Pearce are feeling hard done by and fed up due to the news.

“Princess are doing this because they care more about profits than their loyal customers.

“They made a profit here in Australia but figured they’d make more by going to a different country.”

Cruises like Bobbie Baxter-Thompson are left devastated by the news after having her circumnavigation of Australia cancelled. And they have not been offered a replacement.

“I’m devastated our huge cruise in October next year looks to be cancelled. This was a bucket list cruise ticking off so many ports we never imagined we would visit. Looks like it’s still a dream for now.”