17th February, 2022 is the new date when Australia will hope to welcome cruise ships, it was announced last week by the Minister for Health, Greg Hunt. This is 1 year and 11 months since the ban began!
The original date was 17th December 2021. The extension of the ban has disappointed thousands of travellers, not to mention the cruise industry. Thousands of workers from travel agents to the many suppliers must now rework their schedules. Many companies had already repositioned their ships because of the uncertainty over whether the Australian government would honour the December date.
In the two years that cruise ships have been banned from this country, the cruise companies have worked hard on devising protocols to protect their customers and staff against Covid-19. “Cruising has changed enormously in. response to the pandemic and the work our industry has done with medical experts internationally has resulted in health protocols that are successful inb mitigating the risks of Covid-19” said Joel Katz, Managing Director of CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) Australasia.
This extension to 17th February means that cruise ships are unlikely to sail in Australian waters this season. Mid-April would be the earliest Australia could welcome cruise ships but even this is unlikely as it takes several months to prepare a ship to sail on a particular voyage and to fill is with passengers.