Company History

Company History

Major events in the Australasian cruise market

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  • P&O Cruises' TSS Strathaird made her first cruise from Brisbane to Norfolk Island carrying 1,100 passengers. 


  • Over 1 million United Kingdom migrants caught their very first glimpse of their new Australian homeland from P&O Cruises ships. Known as Ten Pound Poms, this mass arrival was a scheme devised by the Australian and British Governments to help populate Australia.


  • P&O Cruises acquires Sitmar cruises, consisting of the former Cunarders Fairwind and Fairsea (later Fair Princess), Fairstar and the Fairsky.


  • Maiden Australian visit of P&O Cruises World Cruising’s Oriana, heralding a new age of superliners.


  • All ships in the P&O Cruises fleet are sold or replaced from 1988 to 2000, except the Fairsky, which is renamed Pacific Sky.
  • The P&O Cruises office consists of just over 150 employees.


  • Maiden Australian visit of P&O Cruises World Cruising’s new Aurora, which at 76,000 tonnes is the largest ship to ever visit Australia.


  • Princess Cruises bases its first ship in Australia with Pacific Princess deployed from Sydney for six months.


  • Carnival Corporation announces merger with P&O Princess Cruises plc, creating the world’s first global cruise operator.
  • Princess Cruises Star Princess makes her maiden visit to Australia – claiming the mantle of the largest ship ever to visit Down Under.


  • Pacific Sky is joined by Pacific Sun (ex Jubilee from Carnival Cruise Lines) to be based year round in Sydney as part of the P&O Cruises fleet.
  • Carnival Australia is formed.
  • Princess Cruises’ new Sapphire Princess visits Australia, becoming the youngest and largest ship ever to call Down Under.


  • P&O Cruises continue to dominate the cruising industry in Australia with the arrival of Pacific Star (ex Costa Tropicale) to be based out of Brisbane.


  • Queen Mary 2's maiden visit to Australia with the Cunard flagship claiming the title of the largest ship ever to visit Australia.  QM2 and QE2 have a memorable Royal Rendezvous in Sydney Harbour.
  • Ann Sherry appointed CEO.
  • Australia’s first superliner, Pacific Dawn, joins the P&O Cruises’ fleet.
  • P&O Cruises celebrates its 75th anniversary of cruising, and now carries more than 400,000 passengers annually on scores of voyages to the Pacific Islands.
  • Sun Princess becomes the first Princess Cruises ship to be deployed in Australia full time.


  • Dawn Princess deployed in Australia full time, joining Sun Princess.
  • Queen Elizabeth 2's final visit to Australia, Queen Victoria's maiden visit to Australia and historic Royal Rendezvous of both ships in Sydney Harbour.


  • Pacific Jewel joins the P&O Cruises fleet (December).
  • The number of Carnival Australia employees exceeds 370 and continued growth leads to relocation to a new head office at North Sydney.
  • Carnival Australia receives the Outstanding Workplace Flexibility award from the Australian Government’s Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA).
  • Maiden Australian visit of P&O Cruises World Cruising’s new Arcadia.


  • Superliner Pacific Pearl joins the P&O Cruises fleet (December).
  • Seabourn Odyssey makes her maiden visit to Australia – the first of three new ultra-luxury ships for the cruise line.


  • Queen Elizabeth makes her maiden visit to Australia, meeting Queen Mary 2 in Sydney in another Royal Rendezvous.
  • Princess Cruises named the best Australian-based cruise operator in the National Travel Industry Awards.
  • Holland America Line and Seabourn establishes a full sales and marketing operation in Sydney at Carnival Australia’s head office at North Sydney.
  • America’s largest cruise operator, Carnival Cruise Lines enters the Australian market under the Carnival Australia umbrella in preparation for the arrival of Carnival Spirit in October 2012 for full time cruising from Sydney.
  • Seabourn’s latest ship, Seabourn Sojourn, makes her maiden visit to Australia.


  • P&O Cruises Pacific Sun departs the fleet.
  • Carnival Australia pioneers Mare in the Loyalty Islands as the latest destination for cruise passengers in the Pacific Islands.
  • P&O Cruises celebrates 80 years of cruising out of Australia.
  • Princess Cruises celebrates 10 years in the Australian market.
  • Australian Federal Government announces three berths will become available at Garden Island (New South Wales) for 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 cruise seasons, with longer term plans in development.
  • Carnival Australia led another record breaking year (34 per cent increase 2010/2011 to 623,294)
  • Queen Mary 2 undertakes her first circumnavigation of Australia.
  • Carnival Spirit debuts in Australia.


  • White Bay Cruise Terminal opens in Balmain to replace the temporary facility at Barangaroo.
  • New cruise terminal at Queen's Wharf opens in Auckland, New Zealand.