Serenade of the Seas, Royal Caribbean

Who will be sailing during Australia’s wave season in October

It’s a question on every cruiser’s lips – when will we be able to sail again?

The answer appears to be October.Royal Caribbean’s Managing Director Gavin Smith has said that his vessels will be sailing in Australia by October.

The line, which has Ovation of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and Radiance of the Seas sailing in Australia, also has a new ship, Serenade of the Seas, slated for homeporting at Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal.

Radiance of the Seas will be redeployed to Brisbane’s new cruise terminal, which a spokesperson has said, will open in October.

P&O’s Pacific Dawn is scheduled to arrive at 6am on October 3 at Luggage Point.

“It’s going to be a challenging road ahead. We need to restore confidence in the Australian public as an industry; we are going to do that. We will look at a gold standard for public health as it relates to our industry,” Mr Smith told The Australian. 

“We are looking at every variable already. We have to be ready to go as and when consumers and society feel safe to get back to taking cruising holidays.”

The Australian Government’s official ban on foreign cruise vessels end on May 15. New Zealand and America is saying June 30. So while the winter season has been scratched, there is still a lot of optimism around our wave season.

Carnival Corporations’ CEO Arnold Donald told Bloomberg Business this morning that China might be among the first areas where cruise lines start sailing again, as the country has eased up restrictions on social gatherings.

“Because of that — and that alone — it’s possible that China could be one of the first markets where cruise can be renewed,” Mr Donald said. “There are other issues, though, not the least of which is where the cruise is going to go.”

Carnival Australia was making no comment today, though its major lines like Princess Cruises and Holland America have earmarked June 30 for a start up date.

Traditional British line, Cruise & Maritime Voyages said they are hopeful that the Australian and New Zealand 2020/21 wave season will go ahead.

“At this stage, we hope that our Australian/NZ season will continue as normal. Our region has done exceptionally well at containing the virus so we would expect that bans on domestic travel within Australia and New Zealand would be one of the first to be lifted. Cruising plays a unique and important role in supporting regional tourism and CMV are well-positioned to support this with our upcoming 20/21 Australian season on Vasco da Gama,” said Dean Brazier, the Managing Director of CMV Australia.

“We are confident that appetite to travel overseas will return quite quickly for Australian travellers and will start with shorter trips to regions fairly close to home, such as Asia. While it’s difficult to put a specific timeframe on anything, we would expect cruising in Asia to return shortly after domestic cruising, in the coming Australian and New Zealand summer season,” he said.

Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas and Oceania Cruises have stood firm on resuming sailings on May 15, and have not changed their suspension of sailing dates and the proposed restart date still stands at May 15.

“With the virus continuing to impact communities and ports around the globe, we have extended our voluntary temporary suspension of voyages to include all sailings embarking through May 14, 2020. We plan to recommence operations beginning May 15, 2020,” said an NCLH spokesperson.

Viking, which has river and ocean faring ships, were the first to suspend their sailings until June 30 and their consistency has been remarkable.