Carnival Australia has sold the Pacific Sun to an unidentified buyer before the vessel begins to deteriorate and impacts the image of the P&O fleet.
Chief executive Ann Sherry told Travel Today the company was “concerned” that the 1900-passenger liner may start “to show a few more signs of technical issues”.
The sale, for an undisclosed sum, was also described as a “natural progression” as Carnival pursues a multi brand strategy in Australia, demonstrated by the arrival of the Carnival Spirit next year.
“So much has changed that there are newer and bigger ships coming into the market and that is the constant reinvention that we are doing in the market with all the brands that we are operating,” Sherry said.
“These are tough waters to run ships in. Pacific Sun last year has a few technical problems and that was disruptive for passengers.
“This year she’s performed much better but we were concerned that as we kept working her hard in pretty rough waters and with fairly challenging itineraries she might start to show a few more signs of technical issues.”
Ships that encounter such technical problems “invite that continued perception” that P&O operates an older, less reliable fleet, she added.
“The technical team has done a great job in keeping the Sun reliable but as we look forward we don’t want to resuscitate the perception that the ships are unreliable,” she said. “This year they have all been incredibly reliable which is the way we want people to think about cruising, not that it’s an unreliable category.”