After a 25-month cruising ban, cruise ships are finally arriving back in Australia.
In March 2022, the Australian Federal Government announced that it would not be renewing its ban on international cruise ships, and that ships could sail back into the country on April 17 — when the latest ban extension expired.
The first vessel to arrive in port was P&O Cruises Australia’s Pacific Explorer this morning. The ship received a water cannon salute to celebrate her arrival, passing through Sydney Heads around 9:30 am local time before sailing into Circular Quad later in the morning with an escort of official vessels and excited locals.
Pacific Explorer‘s first revenue sailing is set to depart on May 31 — a four-night roundtrip voyage roundtrip from Sydney with a stop in Brisbane.
Princess Cruises has already announced plans to resume sailings on Coral Princess from Brisbane in June.
To ease back into cruising, Australia put a number of measures into place for ships that will be returning to the country, including:
- Enhanced pre-arrival reporting and identification of COVID-19 risk through more questions of passengers and improved processes.
- Stress testing of the emergency response system in relation to cruises.
- Engaging with the cruise industry on safe resumption.
- A vaccination requirement for passengers.
In the announcement last month, the Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt said “On the basis of medical advice and with the agreement of National Cabinet, lifting the cruise ban is consistent with the reopening of Australia’s international border and shows that we have successfully navigated Australia’s emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”