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 Sydney to Norfolk Island carrying 1100 passengers.


  • More than one 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.
  • During the 1950s, Holland America Line’s ss Volendam & ss Groote Beer also form part of the post-war fleet bringing European migrants to Australia.


  • Princess Cruises bases its first seasonal ship in Australia, with the original ‘Loveboat’, the Pacific Princess, cruising from Sydney over the summer


  • 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.


  • P&O Cruises welcomes Pacific Sky to its fleet.
  • 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 the ‘new’ Pacific Princess in Sydney for six months, the first Princess ship with an onboard currency in Australian dollars and itineraries designed specifically for Australians.
  • P&O Cruises bases Pacific Sky in Auckland for the brand’s first ever season cruising from New Zealand.


  • Carnival Corporation announces merger with P&O Princess Cruises plc, creating the world’s first global cruise operator.
  • Princess Cruises’ 108,000-tonne 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 P&O Cruises’ fleet.
  • Pacific Sky becomes the first cruise ship to be based in Brisbane.
  • Carnival Australia is formed.
  • Princess Cruises’ new 116,000-tonne 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 debut of Pacific Star (ex Costa Tropicale) to be based in Brisbane.
  • Holland America Line’s maiden season from Australia begins


  • Queen Mary 2's maiden visit Down Under sees the Cunard flagship claiming the title of the largest ship ever to visit Australia.  Queen Mary 2 and Queen Elizabeth 2 have a memorable Royal Rendezvous in Sydney Harbour.
  • Ann Sherry appointed Carnival Australia CEO.
  • P&O Cruises’ first superliner, Pacific Dawn, debuts in Sydney.
  • P&O Cruises celebrates its 75th anniversary of cruising, now carrying 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.


  • Princess Cruises’ Dawn Princess is deployed in Australia full time, joining Sun Princess.
  • Princess Cruises bases its first ship in Melbourne, becoming the first cruise line to offer a full summer season of cruises from the Victorian capital.
  • Princess Cruises operates its first world cruise sailing roundtrip from Australia.
  • P&O Cruises announces its partnership with Australian celebrity chef Luke Mangan – the first such offering in the Australian market.
  • Queen Elizabeth 2 pays her final visit to Australia, while Queen Victoria makes her maiden visit Down Under. The two Cunard ships stage an historic Royal Rendezvous in Sydney Harbour 


  • Pacific Jewel joins the P&O Cruises’ fleet.
  • Carnival Australia receives the Outstanding Workplace Flexibility award from the Australian Government’s Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA).
  • P&O Cruises World Cruising’s new Arcadia makes its maiden Australian visit.


  • Pacific Pearl joins the P&O Cruises fleet in December 2010.
  • Seabourn Odyssey makes her maiden visit to Australia – the first of three new ultra-luxury ships planned for the cruise line.


  • Cunard’s newest ship, Queen Elizabeth, makes her maiden visit to Australia, meeting Queen Mary 2 in Sydney in another Royal Rendezvous.
  • Holland America Line and Seabourn establish a full sales and marketing operation in Sydney at Carnival Australia’s head office at North Sydney.
  • Holland America’s ms Oosterdam makes her maiden visit to Australia, commencing the first of three seasonal deployments Down Under
  • The world’s largest cruise operator, Carnival Cruise Line announces it will enter the Australian market under the Carnival Australia umbrella in October 2012.
  • Seabourn Sojourn makes her maiden visit to Australia.


  • P&O Cruises celebrates 80 years of cruising out of Australia.
  • Carnival Australia pioneers Mare in the Loyalty Islands as the latest destination for cruise passengers in the Pacific Islands.
  • Queen Mary 2 undertakes her first circumnavigation of Australia.
  • Carnival Spirit debuts in Australia in October.


  • 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.
  • P&O Cruises makes maiden dedicated cruise to Papua New Guinea
  • Seabourn Quest makes her maiden visit to Australia.


  • Two P&O ships celebrate Australia Day in Sydney Harbour for the first time
  • P&O Cruises World Cruising unveils new ‘Union Jack’ livery for its fleet
  • Carnival Cruise Line and Sydney’s Lord Nelson Brewery unveil the region’s first cruise beer
  • P&O announces a second ship is to be based in Brisbane reflecting Queensland’s growth as a source market
  • Carnival Legend makes its maiden visit to Sydney for its first extended summer season of cruising from the city, joining Carnival Spirit which is based here year round
  • Holland America Line deploys ms Noordam to Australia for the summer cruise season, replacing ms Oosterdam


  • Golden Princess arrives in Australia for its maiden season of cruises from Melbourne
  • A record three P&O ships berth in Sydney Harbour for Australia Day celebrations
  • Carnival Australia ships carry out relief effort after Cyclone Pam’s devastation in Vanuatu
  • Princess Cruises announces its new partnership with internationally renowned Australian chef Curtis Stone
  • P&O Cruises’ ‘Five Ship Spectacular’ in Sydney Harbour welcomes Pacific Aria and Pacific Eden to the P&O Cruises’ fleet
  • A record four Carnival Australia ships – three P&O and one Carnival Cruise Line – take 8000 passengers to the Melbourne Cup


  • A record four P&O ships berth in Sydney Harbour for Australia Day celebrations
  • P&O becomes the first cruise line to homeport a ship in Cairns, with Pacific Eden sailing from the city on nine cruises
  • P&O makes 16 maiden visits to new ports around Australia and the Asia Pacific
  • Princess Cruises’ Emerald Princess makes her maiden visit to Australia, and is based in Sydney for a five-month season of cruises


  • Seabourn Encore makes her maiden visit to Australia, becoming the newest and most luxurious cruise ship to be seasonally based in Australia.
  • Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 celebrates the 10th anniversary of her first visit to Australia with a Royal Rendezvous with Queen Elizabeth
  • P&O Cruises unveils new ‘Southern Cross’ livery
  • P&O Cruises’ Pacific Dawn is refurbished and receives the cruise line’s first water slides and waterpark
  • Princess Cruises announces its flagship Majestic Princess will be based in Australia for a summer season of cruising from September 2018
  • P&O Cruises’ Pacific Explorer debuts in Sydney.
  • P&O Cruises announces Golden Princess will join its fleet in 2020
  • Carnival Cruise Line announces it will increase its Australian operation to two full-time ships in 2020
  • Princess Cruises announces Ruby Princess will sail alongside Majestic Princess in Australian waters from 2020.