Marguerite Fitzgerald, the newly appointed President of Carnival Australia and P&O Cruises Australia, today revealed preliminary plans are being made to welcome the company’s cruise ships home with the likely restart of cruising in the previously world-leading Australian cruise market.
Ms Fitzgerald said the planned welcome would have a distinctive Australian flavour paying tribute to suppliers, guests, travel agents, crew and shoreside employees who had remained steadfastly loyal during the challenges of the two-year shutdown of cruising.
“Over recent months, there has been growing awareness of the importance of the cruising ‘ecosystem’ and how it supports hundreds of small businesses and thousands of jobs,” Ms Fitzgerald said.
“With this has come greater understanding that cruising can operate safely with comprehensive protocols that have enabled more than eight million people to cruise with hundreds of cruise ships back in service and more than 80 countries opening their waters to them.
“The restart of cruising to and from Australia is important to all of Carnival Australia’s seven brands but it is particularly significant for P&O Cruises, which this year marks its ninetieth anniversary of cruising from Australia and is renowned as the nation’s homegrown cruise line.
“P&O Cruises is the only cruise line that has its operational base located in Australia and, when its ships return, it certainly will be a case of them coming home.”
Ms Fitzgerald began her new role as President of Carnival Australia and P&O Cruises Australia on January 10, taking over from Sture Myrmell, who is now President of Carnival UK.
Prior to her return to Australia, Ms Fitzgerald worked in the US for 10 years as a senior travel and tourism industry consultant with Boston Consulting Group during which she worked closely with a number of Carnival Corporation cruise lines.
Ms Fitzgerald said she was looking forward to Carnival Australia and its brands contributing to the revival of Australia’s $5 billion a year cruise industry, which had previously reached world-leading market penetration of 5.8 per cent with more than 1.3 million Australians a year taking an ocean cruise.
“It now seems to be a case of ‘when’ cruising resumes in Australia rather than ‘if’ and, when our ships come back, we want to pay due respect to the businesses and people for whom they are so important,” Ms Fitzgerald said.