Why Carnival Cruise Line’s Fleet Is About to Get Bigger

Carnival Cruise Line will absorb its sister brand P&O Cruises Australia and its ships next year, growing its presence in the South Pacific.

The addition to Carnival’s fleet comes as parent company Carnival Corporation & plc makes plans to shut down the Australian cruise line in March 2025, according to the cruise company. Two of P&O Cruises Australia’s ships — the Pacific Encounter and the Pacific Adventure — will then be incorporated into the Carnival Cruise Line brand.

“Despite increasing Carnival Cruise Line’s capacity… 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,” Josh Weinstein, the chief executive officer of Carnival Corporation & plc, said in a statement, adding, “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.”

When the merger is complete, Weinstein said Carnival Cruise Line will make up about 35 percent of the company’s total global capacity. In addition to the new P&O Cruises Australia ships, Carnival will operate the Carnival Splendor and Carnival Luminosa in the region.

P&O Cruises Australia currently operates three ships. The cruise line’s third ship, the Pacific Explorer, will be phased out of the fleet in February 2025.

Carnival Corporation said current P&O Cruises Australia sailings will operate as normal and guests will be notified of any changes to future bookings.

P&O Cruises, which is a company based in the United Kingdom, is not affected by this merger.

In addition to these cruise lines, Carnival Corporation operates AIDA Cruises, Costa Cruises, Cunard, Holland America Line, Princess Cruises, and Seabourn.

The decision to grow its presence in the South Pacific comes as Carnival is in the process of updating how it advertises cruise fares. Starting July 1, Carnival will include all government-mandated taxes, fees, and port expenses in the total advertised price thanks to a new California law requiring cruise lines to include those extra expenses in the advertised fare.

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