Australia’s largest cruise operator, Carnival Australia, which has multiple cruise brands sailing to the South Pacific, has pledged $150,000 as an immediate contribution to cyclone ravaged Vanuatu.

Carnival Australia is working through its charity partner, Save the Children Australia, which already has a team on the ground in Vanuatu and is preparing to send more people and aid.

The Carnival Australia contribution comprises $100,000 to Save the Children’s Vanuatu relief fund and $50,000 from the existing P&O Pacific Partnership with Save the Children.

“It is impossible not to be moved by the stark images coming from Vanuatu with lives lost and unimaginable destruction,” said Carnival Australia CEO Ann Sherry.

“Along with our passengers, we feel a very strong bond with the Vanuatu people for the warmth of their welcome over many decades.

“The contribution being announced today is an immediate first step and we will be guided by our Save the Children on what more we and our passengers can do.”

Carnival Australia is the biggest cruise operator in the Australia/New Zealand/South Pacific region and represents seven distinct cruise brands – P&O Cruises Australia, Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Holland American Line, Seabourn, Cunard and P&O Cruises World Cruising.

Ships from the combined Carnival Australia fleet account for most of the cruise ship visits to Vanuatu destinations.

“We are very aware of how important cruise ship visits are to the Vanuatu economy and we hope any disruption will be short lived,” Ms Sherry said.

“However, our immediate focus is to work with Save the Children to deliver urgently needed help on the ground in places where villages have been wiped out.

“We have many Ni-Van crew working on our ships and we particularly feel for them at this difficult time for their families and friends.”