The government of Western Australia has agreed to the return of small ships in two weeks – just in time for Kimberley cruise season, which is proving popular and is almost sold out.
And the state has also agreed that larger vessels can return to its ports in October, when the Wave Season will be underway.
The move by the state with the toughest anti-COVID laws signals agreement is likely soon with the other states. NSW, Victoria and Queensland have still to set a date for a cruise resumption.
A statement today from the WA Premier’s Office says: “Based on the latest health advice, stringent measures and protocols have been established to allow a safe and staged resumption of cruising in WA. This follows the Commonwealth Government’s decision to lift the ban on cruise shipping in Australia, effective 17 April 2022.
“Starting from Sunday 17 April, small interstate cruise ships with up to a maximum of 350 guests and crew will be permitted in WA. All cruise ships operating in WA are required to have a COVID-19 management plan in place, and crew and passengers will required to be double-dose vaccinated and have received a third dose, if eligible.
“In addition to this, pending latest health advice, larger cruise ships will be permitted to return to Fremantle and other regional WA port destinations including Esperance, Albany, Busselton, Bunbury, Geraldton, Exmouth, Port Hedland and Broome from 1 October 2022.
“These larger cruise ships will be required to make a declaration regarding their responsibilities prior to arrival.”
Sales for the Kimberley season have been high, with Coral Expeditions Ponant and others within the limit of 350 guests.
First back is expected to be Ponant.
Le Lapérouse is planned to embark on her first 2022 sailing from Darwin to Broome on April 28, followed by Le Soleal late May.