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Royal Caribbean announces Covid-19 protocols for Australia cruises

In:
09 Aug 2022

Royal Caribbean announced its health protocols for cruise ships sailing from Australia during the upcoming cruise season.

Ovation of the Seas in Sydney Harbor

These include government mandates and boarding day requirements.

Royal Caribbean warned that protocols can likely change between now and when your sailing may occur.

Health policies

Sydney opera house

All guests must review and acknowledge they have read and accepted their obligation to comply with Australian Government protocols and Royal Caribbean supplementary terms and conditions.

All guests, including Australians citizens, must ensure they meet Australia’s international border entry requirements, including vaccination status, visa, and travel exemption requirements.

Vaccine Requirements

Passport and immunization record card

Per Australian Federal and State Government guidelines for cruising, at least 95% of guests must be fully vaccinated for Covid-19.

All guests ages 12 & older will need to present proof of full vaccination approved by the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration),  at the terminal in order to sail. 

Full vaccination requires that guests have all doses of their Covid-19 vaccine completed no less than 14 days prior to sailing.

Australia Vaccine Passport

Children ages 11 and under, and guests with medical exemptions, are permitted to travel however there is a limit on the number of unvaccinated guests that can travel on each cruise departure.

If you are travelling with unvaccinated children under the age of 12, or if anyone in your travel party is unvaccinated due to a medical exemption, please be sure to advise Royal Caribbean of their vaccination status by contacting your travel advisor, completing our form sent 7 days after your booking is created, or by calling your local office directly.

Testing

Radiance Class ship in Australia

Pre-Cruise

Before arriving on boarding day, it is likely that all guests travelling with us will need to receive a negative COVID-19 test on their own, at their own expense, to meet boarding requirements in line with Australian Federal and State Government guidance.

Please note: More information regarding testing requirements will be made available closer to your sailing.

Masks

At the cruise terminal, it is likely that masks will be required.

Onboard, it is likely that masks will be optional for vaccinated guests and recommended for unvaccinated children while onboard.

Some of the destinations may require masks. Guests under 2 years of age will not need to wear a mask.

Dining & Other Venues

Mariner of the Seas dining room

Tables and chairs in all the dining areas onboard are sanitized frequently.

Shore Excursions

Brisbane, Australia

Requirements for going ashore are subject to change as circumstances evolve, and we will continue to update booked guests of any requirements for their upcoming sailing via email.

Royal Caribbean announces Australia 2023-2024 cruise season lineup

In:
22 Mar 2022

Royal Caribbean has released its plans for cruises down under in 2023-2024.

Three cruise ships will sail from Australia: Ovation of the Seas, Quantum of the Seas and Enchantment of the Seas.

"It’s thrilling to welcome back two Quantum Class ships Down Under, demonstrating Royal Caribbean’s commitment to the region. Plus, because there’s always more room for adventure with Royal Caribbean, we’ve taken the opportunity to bring Enchantment of the Seas to Australia to offer unique sailings that visit new destinations we know our guests are excited to explore," said Gavin Smith, managing director of Australia and New Zealand, Royal Caribbean International.

"We look forward to even more guests, their loved ones and families creating memories while holidaying with us in several of the most spectacular places on earth."

Ovation of the Seas in Sydney | Royal Caribbean Blog

Here's a look at each of the ships sailing from Australia:

Quantum of the Seas

Homeport: Brisbane

Following its first summer season in Brisbane in 2022, Quantum of the Seas returns to offer 3- to 13-night cruises.

Itineraries include visits to destinations in Queensland, such as Airlie Beach and Cairns, Queensland. Longer sailings visit places in the South Pacific, such as Port Vila, Vanuatu, and Noumea, New Caledonia.

Ovation of the Seas

Homeport: Sydney

Ovation of the Seas will sail from Australia for the fifth season and offer a series of 9- to 11-night cruises around New Zealand, including Milford Sound, Wellington and Bay of Islands. 

There are also 3- to 9- night cruises around Australia that visit Hobart, Adelaide and Eden; as well as cruises to the South Pacific islands.

Enchantment of the Seas

Homeport: Sydney

Enchantment of the Seas will sail from Australia for the first time, and she will visit some brand new destinations for any Royal Caribbean ship, such as Kangaroo Island and Gladstone, Australia. 

Royal Caribbean has arranged a series of 8- to 11- night cruises to the South Pacific that visit Raiatea, French Polynesia; Isle of Pines, Mare; and Lifou, New Caledonia.

If you have the time, check out the 34-night circumnavigation cruise that visits all of Australia and New Zealand by booking a combination of two itineraries.

Availability

These new sailings are available to book immediately.

To sweeten the deal, Royal Caribbean is offering half-price deposits for sailings booked by Australians between March 23 and April 5.

Australia cruise ship ban will end on April 17

In:
15 Mar 2022

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.

Ships returning

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.

Royal Caribbean brings back double points promotion for Australians

In:
16 Feb 2022

Australia hasn't seen a cruise ship in over two years, and Royal Caribbean is looking to ease their pain with extra loyalty points.

Royal Caribbean extends double point offer through December 2022 | Royal Caribbean Blog

Royal Caribbean informed Australian residents that they would be able to take advantage of the Double Points promotion due to their government's halt of cruising.

In an email to Crown and Anchor Society guests, Royal Caribbean said any bookings made by Australian members through 31st March 2022 for sailings departing prior to 30th April 2023 will qualify for double points.

Australians don't need to do anything special to qualify for the promotion, as it will automatically apply the benefit.

Australia | Royal Caribbean Blog

Royal Caribbean said part of the reason it brought back the promotion was because many Australians were unable to go on cruises they had booked in the past, "Over the last year, we’ve received many comments and feedback on our Double Points promotion which you were unable to participate in due to the halt on domestic and international cruising for Australians."

"We also know Australians simply can’t wait to get back to enjoying the world class experiences onboard our ships."

Here is the breakdown of the points you will receive under the Double Points offer:

 Standard Cruise PointsDouble Cruise PointsTotal Number of Cruise Points Awarded
Cruise1 point per night1 additional point per night2 points per night
Single Cruiser2 point per night2 additional point per night4 points per night
Suite2 point per night2 additional point per night4 points per night
Single Cruiser & Suite3 point per night3 additional point per night6 points per night

The Double Points promo was initially offered to everyone during the height of the pandemic in 2020-2021 as a means to spur new bookings and compel customers from cancelling cruises well into the future.

The program cut off new bookings that qualified for double points on September 30, 2021, but ever since guests have been clamoring for its return.

The reason why cruise fans loved the aura of double points is because it allowed them to move up the loyalty program tier significantly faster.

By earning more points, you can reach the higher tiers of Crown and Anchor Society faster, and there are some really lucrative benefits for reaching the Diamond and Diamond Plus tiers.

Complimentary alcoholic drinks, balcony discounts, complimentary photos, and reserved seating at shows are just some of the great freebies guests who reach the top tiers of Crown and Anchor Society can expect.

Moreover, this type of offer has rarely been seen.  Previous extra point offers were much more restrictive and have not been made available for a while.

In November 2021, Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley said the Double Points offer would return someday, but only "strategically".

"You'll see more of that coming, but it's not going to be a blanket open book."

Royal Caribbean cancels Australia 2021-2022 cruise season

In:
13 Oct 2021

While cruises have been able to restart in the United States and Europe, Australia will have to wait another year for cruise ships to return.

Royal Caribbean announced on Thursday morning in Australia it has had to cancel its Australia 2021-2022 season.

"A clear pathway for the return of cruising is yet to be established by the Australian Government. As a result, we’ve reviewed our Australia 2021-2022 season."

This affects scheduled Ovation of the Seas sailings from Sydney between December 13, 2021 - March 31, 2022.

Australia still has a cruise ship travel ban that runs through December 17, 2021.

The cruise line said in a statement, "We know this news is disappointing, and we’re sorry for the impact to your holiday plans."

The cruise line added that it is still working with Australian officials to find a way to resume sailings there, "We are proactively engaging with Federal and State governments to recommence cruising in Australia and will provide updates as they come to hand.​"

Guests booked on cancelled sailings have the choice of a 125% future cruise credit that they can use by April 30, 2022, Lift and Shift to a new sailing on the Australian 2022-2023 season, or 100% refund.

The Ovation of the Seas cancellation comes a few months after Royal Caribbean cancelled cruises from Australia on four ships.

Since March 27, 2020, no foreign-flagged cruise ships may enter Australian waters.  The Australian Health Principal Protection Committee reviews the ban regularly.

Cruise Passenger, an Australian site about cruising, quotes sources that say the Australian government has ignored requests for talks for a safe and phased approach to a cruise restart from Cruise Lines International Association Australasia. 

Royal Caribbean cancels Australia cruises due to uncertainty in travel restrictions

In:
06 Jul 2021

While cruise ships are once again sailing in North America and Europe, Australia remains left out of the restart plans.

Royal Caribbean informed guests with booked sailings for the 2021-2022 season the ships scheduled to sail to and from Down Under will no longer do so.

Royal Caribbean described the current situation in Australia as "quite fluid", and announced a redeployment of ships.

Australia still has a cruise ship travel ban that runs through September 2021.

"Due to ongoing uncertainty with the re-opening of international borders, as well as subsequent changes to our global return to service scope, we’ve made a few adjustments to our upcoming itinerary offerings that we want to make you aware of. "

Quantum of the Seas will stay in Singapore, instead of sailing from Brisbane, Australia beginning October 30, 2021.

Instead, the extension of the Singapore season for Quantum of the Seas will run through February 2022. This marks the third season extension for Quantum in Singapore, which first returned to cruising in December 2020. 

To date, on 60-plus ocean getaways, more than 82,000 guests have safely sailed with zero occurrences of COVID-19 on board.

Voyager of the Seas was originally scheduled to sail from Beijing (Tianjin), China beginning in August 2021 and Singapore as of November 2021, the decision has been made to suspend Voyager’s sailings through March 2022. 

Ovation of the Seas will get 4 new sailings added to the tail end of her 2021 Alaska cruise season instead of heading to Australia in September 2021.

Serenade of the Seas has had her repositioning sailings departing September 26 and October 7, 2021 cancelled.

Guests booked on one of the cancelled cruises will have the choice of a 100% refund, 125% future cruise credit, or Lift & Shift for Ovation Sept 20 - Oct 16 only.

Royal Caribbean says it is doing what it can in the meantime to work with Australian authorities to get permission to sail again, "We also continue to engage with Federal and State governments to recommence cruising in Australia and will provide updates as and when they come to hand. "

Since March 27, 2020, no foreign-flagged cruise ships may enter Australian waters.  The Australian Health Principal Protection Committee reviews the ban regularly.

Royal Caribbean suspends final payments for Australian cruises

In:
28 Jun 2021

While cruise ships are slowly returning to service in North America and Europe, when people will be able to cruise down under remains a mystery.

Australia still has a cruise ship travel ban that runs through September 2021, leaving many cruises scheduled for later this year in a state of flux.

Australia's Health Minister Greg Hunt announced an extension of the legislation governing Australia's coronavirus travel ban until at least September 17.

Royal Caribbean sent an email to guests with cruises booked sailing from Australia that updates will hopefully be available soon, but in the meantime, final payment dates will be suspended until further notice for Australia cruises.

"The final payment due date will be suspended until further notice for those sail dates that reach Final Payment while we iron out the details of our next steps."

"We’re currently working through this latest government update, and it is taking a bit of time to finalize, but we are getting closer to sharing details with you very soon."

The final payment date is the when full payment for the cruise is required.  Ordinarilly, if final payment was not made, the reservation would be cancelled.

Royal Caribbean did something similar with Alaska cruises earlier this year, when they kept pushing back the final payment date until Alaska cruises got the go-ahead to sail this year.

Since March 27, 2020, no foreign-flagged cruise ships may enter Australian waters.  The Australian Health Principal Protection Committee reviews the ban regularly.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) said the ongoing red light on cruises is putting 18,000 jobs at risk, and estimated it has cost the nation $6 billion since last March.

CLIA Managing Director Australasia Joel Katz said the cruise ship ban has had a major impact on Australia's economy, "After months of discussions with government, the suspension has been extended again without any clear route from government towards a careful and responsible resumption of cruising."

"The cruise industry has done an enormous amount of work to implement extensive new health protocols globally, but Australia is now the only major cruise destination in the world where there is no progress towards their adoption."

"The cruise industry is not asking for special treatment or to simply reopen the doors to cruising."

Royal Caribbean announces its 2022-2023 Australia cruise deployment

In:
19 Mar 2021

Royal Caribbean has revealed what it has in store for Australia in the 2022-2023 cruise season.

Three ships will sail down under to destinations in the South Pacific, New Zealand and Australia.

The new deployments will go on sale beginning March 25, 2021.

The new season also features more weekend 2- or 3-night “sampler” cruises than ever before, so guests can get a taste for cruise life and weekend like they mean it in 2022/23.

Three ships will call Australia home, including two Quantum Class ships.

Quantum of the Seas will arrive in in Brisbane in October 2022 and offer 24 sailings ranging from 3- to 18-nights, including two transpacific journeys, to destinations in the South Pacific, New Zealand and Australia. 

Quantum has more South Pacific sailings falling across school holidays than ever before.

Ovation of the Seas will sail from Sydney and offer 20 sailings, ranging from 2- to 19-nights, to summer stops in New Zealand, Queensland, the South Pacific and Australia.

Radiance of the Seas is headed to Sydney as well, and will offer 22 sailings, including two transpacific voyages, ranging from 3- to 18-nights, to destinations such as New Zealand, Great Barrier Reef, South Pacific & Fiji, and Tasmania.

Royal Caribbean is also adding a new refundable fare option to provide guests with "added piece of mind". 

The refundable deposits are available for 2022/23 sailings, which allows guests to retrieve their deposit up to 70 days prior to sailing for most cruises.

Royal Caribbean Blog Podcast Episode - State of Australia cruises

In:
17 Mar 2021

Listen to the Show

This week I take a look at where Australia cruises are and what the latest is with their restart plans.

Share with me your thoughts, questions and comments via...

On this episode:
Running time:

Royal Caribbean wants Australians to give up their tortoiseshell products

In:
04 Dec 2020

Are you an Australian that has tortoiseshell products? You can do your part to save the Hawksbill Turtle by giving them up.

Royal Caribbean Australia is parterning with the WWF and Australian Museum in a new campaign that seeks to save the Hawksbill Turtle by asking Australians to give up their tortoiseshell products so vulnerable populations can be traced through extracted DNA.

The new effort is called "Surrender Your Shell", which hopes to use cutting-edge technology to extract DNA from products to track the illegal trade of tortoiseshell.

Researchers will use this DNA to trace tortoiseshell products back to the turtles’ nesting beach and develop a database or “ShellBank” for the first time in the Asia-Pacific. This information will help identify vulnerable turtle populations, so WWF-Australia can work with local communities, governments and the tourism industry to improve turtle protection.

In order to facilitate this effort, the Australian Government has introduced a six month period of leniancy where Australians can send historically purchased tortoiseshell products to WWF-Australia, along with details of where and when they were purchased, without the risk of facing prosecution.

To participate, Australians just need to track down any tortoiseshell products they’ve collected, or been gifted, over the years.

Real tortoiseshell items are brown, orange, amber and yellow in colour and feature irregular patterns.

If people suspect a product is real, they can take the following steps to support the project:

  1. Visit www.wwf.org.au/surrenderyourshell to enter your details, including when and where the item was purchased, to retrieve a unique identification number. 
  2. Attach the unique identification number to your tortoiseshell product, package appropriately and either post through the Australia Post eParcel Returns portal or visit a Post Office with your surrendered tortoiseshell and post to WWF-Australia.
  3. Ensure you post your item between 1 December 2020 and 1 June 2021.

The first 100 items sent through the Australia Post eParcel Returns portal will be paid for by WWF-Australia.

“We’re proud to support the crusade to save this precious species, and to raise awareness with Australians, and our guests, on the part they can play in bringing these turtles back from the brink,” says Gavin Smith, Royal Caribbean International VP and managing director, AUNZ. “The ocean is our lifeblood and we are committed to preserving it — through our own innovation, our Save the Waves programme, and through important collaborations like “Surrender Your Shell.” 

It is estimated nearly 9 million hawksbill turtles have been traded for their distinctive shells over the past 150 years, bringing the species close to extinction. The Pacific Ocean's population has declined by more than 75% and now just 4,800 breeding female hawksbills are thought to survive.

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