Cruises unlikely to return by Christmas
Cruise bosses have rebuffed the idea Australians could be back on board cruise lines by Christmas, after the health Minister Greg Hunt suggested he might lift the ban on the vessels within the week.
While industry bosses said they welcomed Mr Hunt’s announcement he was “reviewing” the ban which is in place until December 18th, claiming more notice is needed to prepare for guests. He suggests Easter is a more likely time frame.
All cruise lines – Royal Caribbean, Princess, Cunard, Carnival and P&O – have already cancelled sailings for the rest of the year and even far into 2022 as March. The Cruise Lines International Association calling the ongoing lack of a plan “absurd”.
Mr Hunt said he was working with states and territories on a plan, and NSW authorities confirmed they have met with cruise bosses.
“I expect to be able to make a decision on cruise ships in the coming weeks once we’ve got the medical information, but it will require at least one state or territory to partner on that,” Mr Hunt says.
“But we would like to see cruising back on before Christmas.”
Cruise Lines International Association managing director Joel Katz said it’s not as simple as the Federal Government just lifting the ban, as cruise lines need several months to prepare and bring ships back from other parts of the world.
However, he is hopeful cruise lines could return before the end of Australian summer. Throughout the pandemic, cruise bosses have criticised the government’s lack of a plan to kickstart the $5 billion industry, which also supports 18,000 Aussie jobs.
Travel agents, food suppliers, maritime firms and on-shore tour and tourism firms also suffer a knock-on effect, losing revenue.
Cruising has resumed in other parts of the world and now Australian citizens and permanent residents can leave the country and return if they live in NSW and Victoria, it's possible to take a cruise overseas