Carnival UK has announced it is axing its Ocean Village line, which it set up five years ago to provide ‘cruises for people who don’t do cruises’. Its fleet of two ships will be redeployed in Australia under sister companies P&O Cruises and Cunard.Ocean Village will continue to operate a single cruise line in the Caribbean from 2009 and all existing timetables will be amended.
Carnival, which owns P&O Cruises and Cunard, attempted to take some of the formality out of cruising by shunning dress codes and fixed timetables.
Carnival UK said: “A European programme will be operated in 2010. P&O Cruises will take delivery of the 3,100-passenger Azura in March 2010 and the new 2,100-passenger Queen Elizabeth will join Cunard in October 2010.”
Carnival UK CEO David Dingle said: “In reviewing the most effective deployment of our ships, we have recognised the major growth potential in the Australian market and the profit opportunity which awaits.
“Clearly it is disappointing to wind down our Ocean Village operation which has been superbly created and delivered by an excellent management team, but we must recognise the need to maximise profit performance from our assets.”
“Ocean Village has done much to change the face of British cruising, and all our UK brands have benefited from this. The arrival of new ships for P&O Cruises and Cunard in 2010 and the continuing development of Princess Cruises in Britain will ensure that Carnival UK continues its growth despite the redeployment of the Ocean Village vessels.”
This closure means that the UK has now suffered a loss of four major lines; Ocean Village One and Two, Island Cruises’ Island Star and finally Fred Olsen Cruise Lines’ Black Prince, which recently announced plans to retire in September 2009.
The company’s relaxed atmosphere combined with adventurous land excursions for the Mediterranean and Caribbean holiday-maker attracted a new age range of 30-50 years olds to cruising. However recent economic trends have lead to the company finding itself in an unsustainable situation and will leave a hole in the market.