In news today that shocked and surprised many, Carnival U.K. has announced that it will cease operating Ocean Village, the two-ship cruise line that billed itself as the "cruise for people who don't do cruises".
Its ships -- Ocean Village and Ocean Village Two -- will be transferred to P&O Australia, a sister company, and will be marketed in that region. The transfers will take place at different times; Ocean Village Two will depart in Fall 2009 and be renamed Pacific Jewel with year round sailings from Brisbane. Ocean Village, the line's original ship, will depart in autumn 2010.
Cruises already planned prior to those timeframes will of course go on as scheduled. At the moment, the cruise line has said that Ocean Village will operate a single ship in the Caribbean in winter 2009-10, while the previous programme will be amended. There will also be a European programme in 2010 before the ship leaves for good.
The eventual loss of Ocean Village is a big blow to travellers who have flocked to the U.K.'s more casual cruise lines. This announcement comes just weeks after Royal Caribbean announced it would be selling its stake in Island Cruises to TUI Travel -- meaning Island Star would leave the fleet and Island Escape would join Thomson Cruises.
What will you do when Ocean Village and Island Cruises' ships leave the U.K. market? Vote in our poll.