(2 p.m. EST) -- P&O Cruises Australia has announced that it has sold Pacific Sun, which has been part of its fleet since 2004 and began its cruising life as Carnival Cruise Line's Jubilee. Although the buyer hasn't been disclosed, Australian industry publication Cruise Weekly reports that the 25-year-old ship is going to a Chinese buyer and will operate cruises out of mainland China.
The announcement was made both in an email to all affected passengers -- and on YouTube.
The 47,262-ton, 1,486-passenger ship will make its last voyage for P&O Cruises Australia on July 1, 2012. Passengers booked on cruises after that date will be offered alternatives on other ships in the fleet or a full refund.
Carnival Australia, which owns P&O Cruises, has rapidly expanded its capacity in Australasia recently and now operates three P&O Cruises Australia ships (once Pacific Sun has gone), three Princess Cruises ships and from October 2012, Carnival Spirit. Pacific Sun is the oldest of the P&O Cruises Australia fleet and earlier this year hit the headlines when three cruises were cut short due to engine trouble.
--By Sue Bryant, Cruise Critic Contributing Editor