The Federal Government has revealed it would be lifting Australia’s two-year cruise ban for international vessels.
This will mean some of the country’s largest homeported ships will be able to resume sailings from places like Sydney, Brisbane, Newcastle, Hobart, Adelaide and more.
In an announcement this morning, the federal government said: “On the basis of medical advice, the Australian Government will not renew the ban on international cruise ships arriving and departing from Australian ports, when the current determination expires on April 17.”
The government has increased safety measures including:
- Enhanced pre-arrival reporting and identification of COVID-19 risk through more questions of passengers and improved processes.
- Amendments to the Biosecurity (Negative pratique) Instrument 2016 to ensure cruise vessels always arrive in negative pratique (that is, permission to unload passengers and cargo).
- Stress testing of the emergency response system in relation to cruises.
- Engaging with the cruise industry on safe resumption.
- Passengers will be required to be double vaccinated.
P&O Cruises will resume sailings from May 31 and launch a new program of sailings from the capital cities.
The line said: “The next important step is for state governments to reopen their ports to cruise ships. Discussions are progressing with Commonwealth and the eastern states to finalise a set of health protocols and guidelines ahead of a re-start.
“P&O Cruises President Marguerite Fitzgerald said the cruise line was excited to be working towards re-starting operations on May 31, 2022, subject to government approval, and had begun preparations for the staggered return of its three-ship fleet and crew.
“We’ll be working closely with government agencies on our return which will see us visit about 20 ports around the country after an absence of more than two years,” Ms Fitzgerald said. “Australia has long been one of the world’s strongest cruise markets and as the nation’s only home-grown cruise line we are thrilled at the thought that our loyal guests will be travelling with us again very soon.”
Ms Fitzgerald said the rolling pause in cruising over the past two years meant the cruise line had to revise its deployment schedule for 2022 to ensure it could restart operations smoothly.
Under the new program, Australian cruising will now resume when Pacific Explorer sails from Sydney on May 31 on a four-night roundtrip cruise to Brisbane, where the ship is scheduled to make the first call at the city’s new cruise terminal on June 2.
Pacific Explorer will then sail from Sydney on a series of Queensland and South Pacific cruises until late October, replacing Pacific Adventure’s scheduled program. While most cruise itineraries will remain unaltered by the change of ships, a 10-night cruise to Vanuatu departing June 1 has been replaced with three shorter domestic cruises.
Pacific Adventure will now begin her maiden season of cruises from Sydney on October 22, when Pacific Explorer will sail to Adelaide for a new mini-season of four cruises. Pacific Explorer will redeploy to Melbourne in November for three months, before returning to Adelaide in February 2023 for a longer season of nine cruises.