It’s hard to picture Australia’s cruise scene without Carnival Spirit and her unmistakable Green Thunder, but according to the cruise line’s local boss, we almost lost the vessel to Mexico.

Carnival Cruise Line’s Vice President and General Manager of Sales in Australia, Jennifer Vandekreeke, told media last week that prior to 2012, when the brand was looking at basing a ship outside the US, it considered several countries before landing on Australia.

She admitted that Mexico was on the list of potential destinations for Carnival’s first non-US based vessel, as was the UK and Brazil.

Image: James Morgan

Image: James Morgan

However, after flying ‘Down Under’ and inspecting the local market, Vandekreeke said she found Australia to be the perfect fit for a Carnival ship because Aussies embodied that Carnival ‘spirit’.

“The kind of person that has a great time on board our ships are people that are open minded, social and love to have a go at something new. Sound familiar? I came to Australia and had a look around and thought ‘this is it, why are we not already here’.”

Jennifer Vandekreeke, Carnival Cruise Line Vice President & General Manager of Sales in Australia

So, in an alternative timeline where Carnival Spirit and Carnival Legend were deployed to Mexico instead of Australia, some 660,000 Aussies wouldn’t have let off some steam at the Alchemy Bar, had their asses kicked by fitness guru Shannan Ponton or eaten Green Eggs and Ham for breakfast.


Additionally, around 200,000 thirsty cruisers wouldn’t have been able to try the ThirstyFrog Summer Ale – Australia’s first bespoke cruise beer at sea, which was introduced on Carnival Spirit three years ago.

“We thought if we’re going to be here and if we’re going to be right for Australians then we’re going to need a local beer. So the ThirstyFrog Summer Ale has been around for three years and we love our partnership with co-creators, The Lord Nelson Brewery in Sydney,” Vandekreeke added.

Carnival Cruise Line Vice President Beverage Operations Eddie Allen said the beverage has been “a huge hit” on the Australia-based vessels because it’s “quality beer” that Australians appreciate during their holidays at sea.

“Following the success of Australia’s summer ale, we’ve rolled out similar partnerships with no less than 10 local craft breweries in homeports in the States.

“And because our guests have such a penchant for craft beer, we’ve even taken the process to sea with the craft brewery on Carnival Vista proving to be a huge hit. We expect similar results when Carnival Horizon debuts with her own onboard brewery.”

Do you think Australian cruising would be the same without the Carnival vessels?