The Queensland government is getting ready for the resumption of cruising with the first ship to arrive on June 2. 

P&O Cruises’ Pacific Explorer will be the first to arrive at the new Brisbane International Cruise Terminal which was upgraded in October 2020.  

Queensland cruisers can look forward to domestic cruises, with Carnival Cruise Line announcing this week that its October and November cruises would be changed to domestic trips, with Queensland taking centre stage.

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk’s government has spent $127 million to widen and deepen the shipping channel in Cairns and will invest $232 in upgrading the Port of Townsville.

Ms Palaszczuk says: “With a brand new cruise terminal here in Brisbane, more ports than any other state and the best climate, there’s no reason Queensland can’t become the cruise capital of Australia in the near future.”

The Queensland government is still working with the Commonwealth government to finalise health protocols.

Queensland tourism minister, Stiling Hinchcliffe indicated that it was likely that passengers and crew would have to be fully vaccinated, that there would be enhanced communication between cruise lines and passengers about the health protocols, COVID-safe practices and the potential health risks associated with cruising; and that passengers would have to be tested for COVID and wear makes before embarking and while disembarking.

He said: “The industry is one we want to see resume as soon as practicable but not at the expense of proper health requirements and procedures.

“Queensland’s state of the art $180 million Brisbane International Cruise Terminal will soon be ready to welcome cruise ships back to Brisbane and ports along the Queensland coast will be ready to receive cruise ships in the coming months.”

Mr Hinchcliffe says that the state government has worked closely with cruise lines to attract visitors back to the state with the best onshore tourism attractions.

The cruise industry is worth $1 billion to the state, with hundreds of millions of dollars going to local businesses. 

Mr Hinchcliffe says: “The restart of the Australian cruise ship industry is important. We’ll work with the Australian government and industry to chart the safe course to resumption.” 

Ms Palaszczuk agrees: “Rebuilding Queensland’s tourism industry is central to our plan for economic recovery. That’s why we’re working closely with the Commonwealth to welcome back cruise ships as soon as possible.