CruiseCanada's cruise revival plan leaves Australia and New Zealand further adrift.

Locked in and locked out of cruise restart

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CLIA is urging the governments in Australia and New Zealand to follow Canada's example by bringing forward the end of its cruise ban.
CLIA is urging the governments in Australia and New Zealand to follow Canada's example by bringing forward the end of its cruise ban. Photo Credit: Getty Images/GordonBellPhotography

As cruises gradually make a restart in the US, Europe and parts of Asia, one major cruise region is still notably missing — Australia and New Zealand.

With Canada becoming the latest to announce a lifting of its cruise ban from 1 November 2021, the cruise industry in Australasia has reacted strongly to the latest developments — or lack of.

Australia was also left out of Royal Caribbean's latest sailings plan when the cruise line extended Quantum of the Seas' season in Singapore until February 2022, instead of sailing from Brisbane, Australia beginning 30 October 2021.

The lack of progress on the cruising front has led Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Managing Director Australasia Joel Katz to step up lobbying efforts to revive the domestic cruise sector.

“Like Australasia, Canada has taken a very conservative and risk-averse approach to cruising, but they’ve worked hard with industry to develop a detailed pathway towards resumption and economic recovery,” Katz said.

“By contrast, governments in Australia and New Zealand have made no progress towards establishing a framework for future cruise operations, despite the availability of comprehensive new health protocols at the international level.”

CLIA has called for Australian and New Zealand governments to agree upon detailed plans for a careful domestic cruising revival, which includes safety measures of 100% testing of all passengers and crew before boarding.

This would initially begin within local bubbles, involving domestic-only cruises for local residents only.

Katz said the suspension of cruising had already cost the local region more than A$6 billion (US$4.4 billion) since early 2020 and had put an estimated 25,000 jobs at risk.

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