CruiseCruising is back after two tough years, and a battered industry can't wait to get its sails flowing again.

Ships ahoy! Australia's cruise sector restarts 17 April

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Australia is ready to welcome back cruise ships.
Australia is ready to welcome back cruise ships. Photo Credit: P&O Cruises Australia

The Australia federal government has signalled that international cruise ships will be welcomed back into the country from 17 April after a two-year ban that has left most travel agents struggling to keep their heads above water.

While the projected restart of operations has been applauded by cruise lines and agents alike, the delay in allowing cruise ships back into Australia has come at a heavy cost.

Craig Bowen, managing director of wholesaler Cruise Traveller, said, “With the rest of the world having resumed cruising successfully many months ago, I strongly feel that between the state and federal governments there has been a total lack of understanding and respect for the cruise and travel industries here in Australia.

P&O Cruises Australia is back on deck

P&O Cruises Australia makes a return to cruising on 31 May 2022 with new sailings from Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne.

  • Pacific Explorer will sail from Sydney on 31 May 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 2 June.
  • 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.
  • Pacific Adventure will begin her maiden season of cruises from Sydney on 22 October, when Pacific Explorer will sail to Adelaide for a new mini-season of four cruises. 

“The delay in restarting cruising has cost an enormous amount of money, employment and, quite honestly, mental wellbeing – but it is water under the bridge if we do get the go ahead from 17 April – let’s all just look to the future and an amazing second half of 2022 and all of 2023 and beyond.”

Federal tourism minister Dan Tehan said he expected an agreement with the state governments over human biosecurity protocols would enable cruising to restart, with an announcement due as early as this week.

Dean Long, chief executive of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents, said, “Even if everything lines up and the states and territory governments also green-lights the return of cruise, it’s going to take a couple of months for the ships to get here.

“International travel, including cruise, is not going to be anywhere close to normal before late 2022 and the travel sector needs ongoing government support until that happens.”

Bowen, who has operated his business for 40 years, said he had worked too hard for too long to walk away from Cruise Traveller.

“Rather than walk away, as some of the industry has, we have invested in keeping our team together and looking for opportunities to ensure that we are in better space on the other side.

“It has been a massive learning curve and now myself, and all my team, are looking forward to getting back to the exciting industry that has kept us intrigued and motivated for many years – and will for many years to come.”

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