Carnival Cruise Line has unveiled its 2018 Australia program, announcing that the Carnival Spirit will continue to be based in Sydney full time in 2018.

The cruise line has decided the ship will no longer spend the northern summer in China, as announced earlier this year, but will return to Australia immediately after her scheduled drydock in Singapore in May 2018, according to a statement. 

Carnival Cruise Line Vice President Australia Jennifer Vandekreeke said the decision "was based on the current success and popularity of the cruise line's operations in Australia and associated capacity needs."

"Australian guests and travel agents have truly embraced the fun of a Carnival cruise," Vandekreeke said. "We recently welcomed our 500,000th guest onboard our local ships and our forward bookings are strong for next winter, so a decision has been made to keep Carnival Spirit in Australia throughout 2018.

"It's a sensible business move and we think it's one that will be very popular with loyal Australian customers."

Featuring 35 new cruises to and from Australia from April to December 2018, the new program will go on sale on November 4, 2016.

Unveiling details, Ms Vandekreeke said Carnival Spirit would now offer two new 19-night cruises between Sydney and Singapore, where she will be refurbished during her May 2018 dry dock.

The Carnival Spirit's new winter cruises will also include an of seven and 12 night voyages to Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia as well as a range of three-night short cruises and four-night sailings to Queensland's Moreton Island. 

Meanwhile Carnival Legend will return to Australia in October 2018 for her fifth extended summer season in Australia. 

Already scheduled to sail from Melbourne for an inaugural series of seven cruises in early 2018, Carnival Legend will offer three more cruises from the Victorian capital in November 2018, including a 10-night cruise to New Zealand, a three-night short break and a four-night cruise to Sydney via Hobart.