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Royal Caribbean suspends payments as Australian cruise ban continues

Royal Caribbean has notified its Australian customers that final payment due date will be suspended in response to the uncertainty of cruising locally.

“Recently, the Australian Government announced an extension of their port closures to cruise ship travel through September 2021, which may have left you wondering what would happen with your upcoming sailing,” said Royal Caribbean in an email.

“We’re currently working through this latest government update…but we are getting closer to sharing details with you very soon…we’re committed to letting you know of any changes or cancellation as soon as possible.”

“The final payment due date will be suspended until further notice for those sail dates that reach Final Payment while we iron out the details of our next steps.”

While this might not seem like the most positive sign, Royal Caribbean put a similar procedure in place for Alaskan cruises earlier this year, delaying payment dates a couple of times. However, eventually Alaska was allowed to sail and payments were taken.

The Australian cruise ship ban is currently in place until September 17, but it generally takes about 90 days for a large ship to prepare to cruise and no framework has been put in place to resume cruising by this date.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has been lobbying the government for the return of cruising. Arguing that the current restrictions are risking 18,000 jobs and have cost the nation $6 billion since March 2020.

CLIA Managing Director Australasia Joel Katz told Royal Caribbean Blog: “After months of discussions with government, the suspension has been extended again without any clear route from government towards a careful and responsible resumption of cruising.”

“The cruise industry has done an enormous amount of work to implement extensive new health protocols globally, but Australia is now the only major cruise destination in the world where there is no progress towards their adoption.”

“The cruise industry is not asking for special treatment or to simply reopen the doors to cruising.”