covid-19

Covid-19 pandemic affects cruising and travel

Keen to cruise

 

Cruise ships lined up during COVID  

When can Australians plan to cruise internationally again? 

This week, the Australian government announced that cruise ships would not be allowed in Australian waters until June 17. This is an extension of the original ban and will mean cruise ships have been banned from Australian waters for 15 months. There is no guarantee this won’t be extended further. On the bright side the Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, did add that the restrictions “can be amended or repealed if no longer needed”.

Meanwhile many of the cruise companies are putting out itineraries for the future. If you s like to plan a year or two ahead talk to your travel agent. Terms and conditions have changed since pre-COVID .

Travel and cruising will be more complicated  here are some points to consider:

  1. Stay local for your first cruise – make the most of the travel bubble. If you do need to get home it will be quicker and easier than if you are on the other side of the world.
  2. Consider the type of ship. Plenty of deck space, high passenger to space ratio and fewer passengers could be more appealing than ever before.
  3. Consider your cabin – balconies will be in greater demand than they once were.
  4. Book late. Cruise companies are likely to offer plenty of great deals as the borders open and cruising starts again. Same with air fares.  
  5. Check your travel insurance. You may need to go over this with your travel agent as the terms are being modified all the time – pandemics have changed it all. 
  6. Know what the cancellation terms are.
  7. Make the most of your travel agent’s knowledge and experience – we have been keeping ourselves up to date during lockdown!    Phone  9968 1600 or email us

Stranded ships, stranded people – the humanitarian solution

3 cruise ships in a row in the Bahamas

The coronavirus has taken over our lives alarmingly rapidly. It has taken over our media and facts and myths are being given equal weight. 

Around 9,000 hapless passengers are stranded in about a dozen cruise ships around the world. At time of writing 19 cruise ships are ‘stranded’ off the Australian coast. Some ships were on round the world voyages and had been at sea long before coronavirus struck. Health policies and border restrictions are changing daily and meanwhile these passengers and the thousands of crew who serve them are being demonised. Ships are still being denied entry to ports around the world and cruise companies are working round the clock to find a solution. Two of the ships that are carrying Australians among their passengers are Holland America vessels the Rotterdam and the Zaandam – both vessels tried to disembark passengers and crew and were being excluded from ports around the Americas for weeks until today (April 3) when they have been allowed to disembark in Florida.

A statement from the President of Carnival says “[Ruby Princess] followed to the letter all of the formal health clearance processes that were active at the time – meaning that all travellers arriving from an overseas port were treated in exactly the same way whether they arrived by air or sea”.  (Cruise Weekly April 2)

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Australasia is calling for repatriation of crew – and this appears to have been heard.

These travellers could have been any one of us who love to travel and to cruise – these are the unlucky ones, caught up in an unprecedented disaster. It is easy to pass a problem on to others, to deny responsibility, to blame someone else. There’s been a lot of buck passing between the Federal government and the Department of Home Affairs – notably some unhelpful comments on air by Peter Dutton – the state governments, the health authorities and border security. It is to be hoped that it is not much longer before the situation is resolved humanely.

Cruising contributes around $5billion to the national economy each year and 20,000+ people work in the industry. Will Australia turn away the ships when this over?