'We benefit from being part of a global organization with a worldwide fleet of cruise ships that ensure we have the flexibility to make the most of opportunities in our region and to adjust our strategies accordingly,' P&O Cruises Australia president Sture Myrmell said.
'Having reviewed the market, we believe a 3,000-passenger ship is the right-sized ship for the P&O fleet to drive further sustained growth in our market.'
The 113,000gt Carnival Splendor is 50% bigger than P&O Australia's largest ship. The 3,000-passenger figure is double occupany; the ship can carry 3,700 passengers.
Infrastructure concerns were relevant, too.
'It is increasingly apparent that the improvement of cruise ship infrastructure in Australia and across the Pacific is not moving as fast as we had hoped to support a ship the size of the newbuild we had intended for the fleet in 2019,' Myrmell added. 'We also look forward to greater certainty around costs, berth availability and infrastructure.'
Carnival Splendor will be renamed and refurbished to reflect the P&O look and build in core brand experiences.
Myrmell said that welcoming that ship in late 2019, on the back adding Pacific Explorer in mid 2017, 'cements our position as Australia's leading cruise line and the only true home-grown Australian brand.'
In four years P&O Cruises will have doubled capacity with four ships—Pacific Aria, Pacific Eden, Pacific Explorer and Carnival Splendor.
More details regarding the ship's transfer, features and itineraries will be announced at a later date.