Princess Cruises cancels all Australian cruise ship holidays on iconic ships

All future journeys with the Sun Princess and Sea Princess, including more than 50 from Australia, have been cancelled as Princess Cruises confirms the ships have been sold to a mystery buyer.

The ships, which have long been popular with Australian holiday-makers, are among 18 vessels to be sold by Princess’ parent company Carnival Corp.

Princess Cruises said due to the sale, all scheduled trips for the Sun Princess from December 23 to August 14 next year are cancelled, along with those on the Sea Princess from December 23 to November 9 next year.

This includes 55 cruises from Australia and a further 14 international journeys.

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Passengers who had been booked to sail on the Sun Princess and Sea Princess will be contacted and offered alternative cruises or refunds.

The Sun Princess (pictured) has been sold along with its sister ship, the Sea Princess. Picture: Princess CruisesSource:Supplied

Princess Cruises said the sale of the ships was in line with Carnival’s move to a more efficient fleet. Their new owner has not been disclosed.

“Sun Princess and Sea Princess contributed to significant growth in Australian cruising,” Princess Cruises president Jan Swartz said.

“Both ships defined the premium cruise experience with Australians and New Zealanders spending close to 14 million nights aboard these ships.

“While it is never easy to say goodbye to any ship in our fleet, this will allow us to deploy newer ships, enhancing our offerings for Australia cruisers and focus on bringing into service exciting new builds like the upcoming delivery of Enchanted Princess.”

Sun Princess was one of the biggest cruise ships in the world when it debuted with Princess in 1995. The 2000-passenger vessel was homeported to Australia in 2007.

The Sea Princess has also been sold to the undisclosed buyer. Picture: Louise PooleSource:Supplied

Meanwhile the Sea Princess, which was based in Australia, travelled the equivalent of 35 times around the world, and completed six full-world cruises since 2013.

Princess Cruises had previously confirmed it would extend its pause on cruise operations in Australia through to December 18.

The company has been at the centre of two infection flash points during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Its ship the Diamond Princess became quarantined off the coast of Yokohama, Japan in February, in one of the earliest major outbreaks outside China. At least 700 passengers and crew eventually tested positive for the virus.

Then in March, the Ruby Princess triggered a major scandal when thousands of passengers were allowed to disembark in Sydney despite coronavirus cases on board.

The ship was eventually linked to at least 900 COVID-19 cases and 28 deaths. Hundreds of people have joined a class action against Carnival and Princess Cruises, while a Special Commission of Inquiry laid much of the blame for the debacle on NSW health officials.

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