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Dream Cruises yesterday announced it was halting the sale of their two November 2019 Newcastle departures on the Explorer Dream due to ‘new biosecurity legislation’.

The move comes after what appears to be a mix up over approvals for the sailings.

The affected sailings were announced in May as a rare opportunity for locals to start and end a cruise in Newcastle was warmly received.

They were a four-night cruise departing 4 November 2019 from Newcastle to Brisbane (via Gladstone and the Sunshine Coast) and a seven-night round-trip from Newcastle on 25 November 2019, visiting Gladstone, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Sydney.

Dream Cruises Vice President Australia and New Zealand, Brigita Devries says: “We have recently been advised by Port Authorities that they are unable to support the disembarkation of passengers and their goods at the Port of Newcastle, due to new Biosecurity Legislation. This contradicts advice we previously received from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture.”

The Port of Newcastle spokesperson says that the cruise terminal has not been approved for ‘first port of entry’ purposes by the Australian Border Force, where passengers embark the ship for the first time or disembark for the last time.

“Partial or full embark or disembark of passengers requires Australian Border Force resources in place, including screening equipment, check in facilities, baggage clearances equipment and Australian Border Force personnel,” said the spokesperson.

The line says that their Port Operations team are working closely with the relevant government authorities including Maritime Traveller Processing Committee, National Passenger Processing Committee and GoG Coordination to request special dispensation and a waiver to allow guests currently booked to embark and disembark in Newcastle.

“We will continue to update our trade partners and any passengers affected by this situation, and thank them for their support while we resolve this matter” says Ms Devries.

Explorer Dream will still be visiting Newcastle every Monday from October 28 to December 2 on its seven-day itinerary departing Sydney.