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Monday 22nd. September 2014 Ð Sydney Harbour, Australia -
AustraliaÕs biggest ever cruise season is officially underway, with Sydney staging a spectacular welcome this morning to mark the maiden arrival of the latest ship to call Australia home - Carnival Cruise LinesÕ 88,500 tonne superliner - Carnival Legend. The Australian Girls Choir were on board performing a medley of well-known Australian tunes with 3000 guests and crew singing along.
Carnival Legend is the first international ship to arrive in Australia for the 2015 summer cruise season, which will see a record 35 different ships visit Australia injecting hundreds of millions of dollars into the local economy.
What the cruise lines say about when they’ll be back
There is much confusion over when international lines will return and cruise in Australian seas.
The Federal Government’s official ban on foreign cruise vessels entering local waters ends on 17 September.
So what do the cruise lines say about when they’ll be back?
Carnival Cruise Line said it will resume cruising when it is safe to do so, with some of its brands adopting a rolling pause until 17 September.
“We have not stated specific dates for resumption and instead have said in general terms that cruising will resume cruising when the time is right, it is safe to do so and the cruising community feels ready to sail again.
“What our brands have done is to continue a rolling pause to operations in the meantime. Some have extended the pause to September 17 in line with the Australian Government’s decision on cruise operations which will no doubt again be reviewed by the Government closer to that time,” said a Carnival spokesperson.
Here’s what the other cruise lines are saying:
Carnival Cruise Line has paused operations through to September 17 in line with guidance from the Australian Government.
Princess Cruises has also suspended sailings until September 17. All Australian cruises scheduled before mid-September have been cancelled.
Cunard has cancelled all sailings on Queen Mary 2 and Queen Victoria through November 1 2020 and all departures including November 23 for Queen Elizabeth.
P&O Cruises Australia will also pause operations until September 17 in Australia and August 31 in New Zealand.
Holland America Line has cancelled departures from Vancouver, British Columbia and Canada this year and select Hawaii itineraries in early 2021.
Royal Caribbean’s managing director for Australia and New Zealand Gavin Smith said that his ships will be sailing in Australia by October.
Ovation of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and new ship, Serenade of the Seas will be sailing from Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal while Radiance of the Seas will be homeported in Brisbane’s new cruise terminal at Luggage Point.
“It’s going to be a challenging road ahead. We need to restore confidence in the Australian public as an industry; we are going to do that. We will look at a gold standard for public health as it relates to our industry.
“We are looking at every variable already. We have to be ready to go as and when consumers and society feel safe to get back to taking cruising holidays,” Mr Smith told The Australian newspaper recently.
Globally, Royal Caribbean International plans to restart sailings on August 1 for the majority of its fleet.
However, there are exceptions.
RCI will cancel all Canadian sailings through to October 13 and will cancel sailings from Denmark’s Copenhagen in August. The line has also cancelled Voyager of the Seas sailings through September 30th, 2020, along with select Spectrum of the Seas and Quantum or the Seas sailings.
Celebrity Cruises has also extended suspension of most sailings through to July 31. With the Canadian Government’s decision to extend its restrictions on cruise ships carrying more than 100 guests until October 31, Celebrity’s 2020 sailings to Canada and Alaska and New England have been cancelled.
Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises will restart their sailings on October 1.
However, NCL will continue to sail the Seattle-based Alaska voyages on Norwegian Joy and Norwegian Bliss departing in September.
But the line will cancel select voyages in October cruising the Pacific Coast, Canada and New England due to travel and port restrictions.
So while you may be able to cruise on certain itineraries later this year, it looks like you might be better off waiting to sail until 2021. However, if you are itching to cruise domestically or in international waters, before booking, make sure the cruise line offers a flexible cancellation or credit policy.