Thousand of family holidays – some of them over Christmas – are in ruins after P&O Cruises and Princess Cruises have both cancelled sailings until 2022, with the government’s failure to act on a return to sailings be blamed.
Cruise Lines International Australasia Managing Director Joel Katz told Channel Nine cruise lines urgently need answers from the government so they can prepare ships to return, which will take up to 120 days.
“These latest cruise cancellations are the result of the uncertainty our industry faces in Australia while there is no agreed plan in place for cruising’s resumption,” he said. “Australia is now one of the only major cruise markets in the world where governments have yet to confirm detailed arrangements for future cruise operations.
“In other countries, around three million people have already sailed successfully under stringent new health measures.”
P&O Cruises is extending its “pause” by an extra month until mid-February next year. This pause will apply to all cruises scheduled to depart from January 15, 2022 to February 14, 2022.
P&O Cruises Australia President Sture Myrmell says the pause is due the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the resumption of cruise in Australia.
“We are naturally disappointed for our guests and our many suppliers to have to extend the pause in operations by a further month,” Mr Myrmell said.
“With society rapidly reopening including social gathering and travel just weeks away, there is a vital need for a pathway for the staged resumption of domestic cruising. Our guests have made it clear they want to cruise again and we look forward to welcoming them on board as soon as possible supported by comprehensive protocols based on the world’s best public health practice and standards.
“We are also mindful of the many businesses who rely on cruising for their livelihoods across food and fresh produce, marine engineering and logistics, entertainment and, of course, travel agents.”
P&O Guests whose bookings are affected will be notified either directly or through their travel agent.
Princess Cruises its extending its pause in Australia and New Zealand operations until March 14, 2022, leading to the cancelling of four sailings on Coral Princess.
Guests have a cancelled cruise will have the option to move to an equivalent cruise, getting a future cruise credit equal to 100% of the fare, plus a bonus non-refundable 10% or a full refund.