The first international cruise ship to enter Sydney Harbour for more
than two years arrived at the city’s International Cruise Ship Terminal
on Monday, 18 April, raising hopes that Australia's cruise industry will
make a strong comeback over the subsequent months.
arrival of P&O Australia's Pacific Explorer, in preparation for her
return to service on 31 May, was well received by the local travel
industry that is estimated to have taken a A$10 billion (US$7 billion)
economic hit because of the two-year ban on cruise ships entering
Cruise Lines International Association's managing director of
Australasia, Joel Katz, said the cruise ban should have been lifted
earlier, as it was in other markets.
"Before Covid, the industry was contributing more than A$5 billion to
the economy each year, and that's the travel agents, the tour
operators, the food and beverage suppliers, the hotel and accommodation
sector, transport providers and, of course, the thousands of businesses
in ports and destinations right around the country that rely on the
cruise industry," Katz added.
The warm reception for Pacific Explorer — harbour tugs showered her
bows with water cannon — was in sharp contrast to her departure from
Sydney in April 2020 when authorities ordered the ship to leave its
homeport of White Bay Cruise Terminal due to Covid restrictions.
So far, three Australian states — New South Wales, Victoria and
Queensland — have agreed on establishing testing and vaccination
requirements for passengers and crew in preparation for the return of
ships. Other states are expected to greenlight cruise operations soon.
Marguerite Fitzgerald, president of Carnival Australia and P&O
Cruises, said watching Pacific Explorer sail into Sydney Harbour was an
emotional moment “for our employees, many thousands of guests and our
numerous cruise suppliers, travel agents and entertainers”.