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P&O Cruises: Famous cruise ship brand is to be shut down just weeks after Daily Mail Australia revealed how one passenger plunged to his death after running up huge casino debt on board

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The iconic cruise line brand P&O Australia is being shut down just weeks after Daily Mail Australia revealed a passenger leapt to his death after racking up a massive casino debt during a trip. 

On Tuesday P&O’s parent company Carnival Corporation announced the famous brand will close in March next year, after 90 years cruising from Australia. 

In a statement, Carnival Corporation said it will ‘sunset’ the P&O Cruises Australia brand and merge the Australia operations into Carnival Cruise Line, which they claim is ‘the most popular cruise line in the world’. 

The closure is blamed on ‘the strategic reality of the South Pacific’s small population and significantly higher operating and regulatory costs’.

Carnival Corporation said the closure of P&O Australia is due to a strategic move ‘designed to increase guest capacity for Carnival Cruise Line, the company’s flagship brand and the highest-returning brand in Carnival Corporation’s global portfolio’.  

P&O Australia passenger Shane Dixon, 45 (pictured) fell to his death after racking up massive gambling debts onboard a cruise

The P&O Australia ship Pacific Explorer will exit the fleet in February 2025

The P&O Australia ship Pacific Explorer will exit the fleet in February 2025

The P&O Cruises cruise ships Pacific Encounter and Pacific Adventure ships will be rebranded and operated by Carnival Cruise Line brand.

Pacific Explorer will exit the fleet in February 2025.

Carnival Corporation advised current itineraries will operate as usual, and passengers will be notified in the coming days of any changes to future bookings.  

Following the closure of P&O Australia next year, Carnival Cruise Line will have four ships in the market, including Sydney-based Carnival Splendor and Carnival Luminosa sailing seasonally from Brisbane, in addition to their new sister ships Encounter and Adventure.

Shane's family said the father-of-three had lost thousands of dollars in the cruise casino on the night he died

Shane’s family said the father-of-three had lost thousands of dollars in the cruise casino on the night he died

Shane Dixon was on a three-day P&O cruise with his mother onboard the Pacific Adventure

 Shane Dixon was on a three-day P&O cruise with his mother onboard the Pacific Adventure

Shane Dixon, 45, is pictured with his mother Sue. The pair were taking a holiday together when he fell to his death

Shane Dixon, 45, is pictured with his mother Sue. The pair were taking a holiday together when he fell to his death

The closure of the P&O Australia brand comes only weeks after father-of-three Shane Dixon plunged to his death from the P&O cruise ship Pacific Adventure just after 4am on May 6 as it approached Sydney Harbour.

During the cruise, Shane had racked up a $9,000 casino debt he couldn’t afford to pay.

In recent years, Shane had grappled with a series of personal tragedies and setbacks, including health issues, family deaths and the breakdown of his marriage, which led to him being estranged from his children.

His family believes he panicked after the consequences of an outstanding $4,000 debt from the ship’s casino began to sink in.

The 45-year-old’s death has cast light on the questionable tactics used on casinos aboard luxury liners to incentivise passengers to spend big – including allowing players to run up bills on their rooms and offering free drinks and vouchers.

Several others have since come forward to share similar stories, including claims they were told self-exclusion was not an option or were interrogated and held onboard by staff after being unable to settle their bills.

A P&O spokeswoman had previously told Daily Mail Australia it would be inappropriate to comment on Shane’s death as the matter is under investigation from the coroner.

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