CARNIVAL Cruise Line last month announced Carnival Splendor will return to Australia after the completion of her Alaska season, causing the Aussie cruise industry to exhale a deep sigh, as the ship will not be absent from local waters for as long as feared.

Guests will be able to book onto Splendor’s ‘Journeys’ sailing back to Sydney, with Carnival President Christine Duffy saying the cruise line is continuing to make plans for a return to guest operations in Australia.

However the formerly Brisbane-based Carnival Spirit is still not scheduled to return to Australian waters for more than 18 months, which at this stage means the cruise line will not revert to its previous compliment of two locally homeported ships until the end of next year.

Carnival said details for a two-ship return to Australia will be announced when such plans are confirmed, adding it will be resuming local operations after government officials provide more clarity.

Duffy said Carnival appreciates the patience of all involved throughout the rescheduling process.