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Princess Cruises may join Carnival, Holland America in shrinking fleet size

Sept. 18, 2020
5 min read
Sun Princess
Princess Cruises may join Carnival, Holland America in shrinking fleet size
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Princess Cruises may be joining the list of cruise lines shrinking in size.

The California-based cruise operator on Friday told travel agents in Australia it soon would be disposing of two of its 18 ships -- the 2,000-passenger Sun Princess and 2,000-passenger Sea Princess.

Both the vessels have been based recently in Australia and draw a significant number of Australians.

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“We are writing to share the news that Sea Princess and Sun Princess have been sold and will be leaving our fleet," the line said in a letter to the travel agents. "While it is never easy to say goodbye to any ship in our fleet, the sale of these ships will allow us to deploy newer ships enhancing our offerings for Australia cruisers.”

Still, despite the communication to travel agents, the line said in a statement to The Points Guy on Friday that the sale of the ships was not a done deal.

“Princess Cruises cannot confirm information around the sale of a ship at this time," the statement said. "We can confirm that there are interested buyers, however, nothing has been finalized."

The news of the possible sale comes just three days after Princess Cruises' parent company, Carnival Corporation, revealed in a regulatory filing that its nine brands were in the process of removing at least 18 ships from their fleets. That’s three more ships than the company had previously disclosed were on the way out.

Carnival Corporation didn't name the three additional ships at the time.

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Related: How to book a cruise with points and miles

Sun Princess
The Princess Cruises ship Sun Princess sails in Sydney Harbor. (Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises)

Carnival Corporation has been downsizing its fleets in recent months as it cuts costs and reorganizes in anticipation of a slow restart to cruising. Most cruise operations around the world have been halted since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Based in Miami, Carnival Corporation is the parent company of Carnival Cruise Line, Holland America, Princess Cruises, Seabourn and five other brands that went into the coronavirus crisis with a combined fleet of 104 ships.

If Princess is, indeed, selling off the two ships, it is joining several of its sister brands in downsizing.

Carnival Corporation’s Holland America brand in July announced it would dispose of four vessels — Maasdam, Veendam, Rotterdam and Amsterdam. The company’s Carnival Cruise Line brand also has announced the removal of four ships — Carnival Fantasy, Carnival Imagination, Carnival Inspiration and Carnival Fascination.

Some of the ships are being sent to scrapyards while others have been sold to smaller cruise companies around the world for continued use.

Other Carnival Corporation-owned lines that have announced plans to downsize include its U.K.-focused brand, P&O Cruises, which recently said one of its vessels, Oceana, had left its fleet. The company’s Europe-focused Costa Cruises brand has disposed of three ships since January: Costa Victoria, Costa neoRomantica and Costa Atlantica. A fourth Costa ship, Costa Mediterranea, will be transferred to a new Chinese cruise line in May.

The company’s P&O Cruises Australia brand has announced the departure of two of its vessels, Pacific Aria and Pacific Dawn.

Related: Why your favorite cruise line probably isn't going out of business

In its regulatory filing on Tuesday, Carnival Corporation suggested the vessels that are leaving are its most inefficient ships. While they have represented about 12% of capacity, they only accounted for about 3% of operating income in 2019, the company noted.

Built in 1995 and 1998, respectively, Sun Princess and Sea Princess are the oldest vessels in the Princess Cruises fleet. They're also among the smallest ships at Princess.

Sun Princess had been scheduled to sail from Brisbane, Australia, over the coming winter before repositioning to North America for Alaska sailings. Sea Princess had been scheduled to operate a mix of short and long sailings from various Australia ports.

As of Friday, the sailings still were available for booking on the Princess website.

Additional resources for cruisers during the coronavirus outbreak:

Featured image by Sun Princess. (Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises)

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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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Go to review

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There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

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  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
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  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
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  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
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  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees