The Federal Government is expected to repeal Covid protocols and vaccination requirements for the upcoming wave season. Cruise Passenger first revealed the change was imminent. This comes after months of running stories on this website, sparked by our readers’ stories of hardship.

Readers said their children and grandchildren were effectively banned from cruising because those under 12 weren’t vaccinated. Now the teenagers are blocked by rules that only apply to cruise ships.

The large number of people who supported a change was a deciding factor in NSW Premier Chris Minns’ decision.

Many of Australia’s major cruise lines support the Government’s decision to remove all vaccination requirements.  

Passengers, too are rejoicing, like Belinda Jade Smith

“Just in time for our already booked cruise. At least now we won’t need to go through the bull of applying for an exemption. The whole thing has been a mess with no government departments wanting to take responsibility for removing them.”

The full details of the CDNA review are yet to be announced. It is unclear what rules will remain in place around isolation and RAT tests.

Here is what the cruise lines have said about vaccination requirements:

Royal Caribbean

“This decision is a positive step towards bringing Australia’s cruise policy back in step with the rest of the community and the world,” said Gavin Smith, AUNZ VP and Managing Director for Royal Caribbean.

“As the NSW Premier said, the protocols were established to support the cruise industry restart. They were never intended to be permanent.

“We look forward to further details from governments in the coming days, and for other states to follow suit ahead of our busy summer season.” 

Norwegian Cruise Line

“The announcement of the imminent removal of COVID-19 vaccination and testing requirements for cruise ship guests is the final step in bringing Australia into line with cruise protocols around the world,” said Ben Angell, Vice President and Managing Director NCL APAC.

“Since the resumption of sailing in local waters, thousands of Australians and international visitors have enjoyed setting sail once more. And whilst the health and safety of our guests will remain a priority, this is a positive step forward.

“We look forward to further updates on the timing of this next step. Particularly as we prepare for the local summer cruise season and the eagerly anticipated return of Norwegian Spirit for her second season Down Under.” 

Carnival Australia

Teresa Lloyd, Chief Strategy Officer for Carnival Australia which includes Princess, P&O Australia, Carnival Cruise Line, Cunard, Holland America and Seabourn, said the decision would bring cruising more into line with current Australian community Covid settings.

“This decision removes the ongoing confusion that surrounds cruising for so many tourists. It brings us back in step with the rest of the community,” she said.

“We look forward to other states following suit.”

“We will continue to abide by our strict and robust hygiene standards on our ships. Whilst, working alongside health authorities into the future.”

Virgin Voyages

Virgin Voyages Chief Brand Officer Nathan Rosenberg acknowledged the leadership shown by the NSW Premier and his Government’s commitment to the Australian cruise industry. 

“Although the Federal Government’s official health advice does not mandate vaccination for cruise travellers, Australia is currently the only country with remaining COVID-19 restrictions on cruising. That includes mandatory mask-wearing during the embarkation process.”

“We thank the Premier for his decision on the removal of these regulations that will finally bring Australia in line with the rest of the world. We encourage the remaining states to follow suit as soon as they can, given the high levels of interest to cruise by Australians and the contribution it makes to the economy nationally,” Rosenberg said.