Australia will finally end its ban on cruise ships from operating in its waters due to Covid-19.
The Australian government announced it will not renew its ban on international cruise ships arriving and departing from Australian ports as of April 17, 2022.
Similar to the United States last year, Australia had a ban in place since early 2020 that prohibited foreign-flagged cruise ships from operating.
Based on medical advice, the government came to the conclusion it was time for the ban to end.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said the decision allow the ban to lapse is based on medical advice and it is now up to states to reopen ports.
"On the basis of medical advice and with the agreement of National Cabinet, lifting the cruise ban is consistent with the reopening of Australia's international border and shows that we have successfully navigated Australia's emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic," Mr Hunt said.
Cruise ships sailing from Australia will have to adhere to a series of requirements:
- Enhanced pre-arrival reporting and identification of COVID-19 risk through more questions of passengers and improved processes.
- Amendments to the Biosecurity (Negative pratique) Instrument 2016 to ensure cruise vessels always arrive in negative pratique (that is, permission to unload passengers and cargo).
- Stress testing of the emergency response system in relation to cruises.
- Engaging with the cruise industry on safe resumption.
- Passengers will be required to be double vaccinated.
According to the cruise industry, Australia's cruise ship ban cost the economy $10 billion.
Royal Caribbean told local media in Australia that its ships won't return to Sydney until October 21st, with the first due in Brisbane on November 9th.
Royal Caribbean’s Quantum and Ovation of the Seas are committed to an Alaska season until September.
"We are delighted that after two years, we have an approved pathway to work with state governments to determine the roadmap for a safe return," a spokeswoman said.
Other cruise lines will return to Australia, with some making it back as early as May.
Carnival Cruise Line will begin cruising from Sydney on October 5th.
P&O Cruises will restart on May 31st with the Pacific Explorer.
Holland American Line's Noordam will sail from Sydney beginning on November 12.
Cunard's Queen Elizabeth will arrive on November 7 in Perth.