Australia extends cruise ban into February

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Royal Caribbean's Ovation of the Seas in Sydney.
Royal Caribbean's Ovation of the Seas in Sydney. Photo Credit: Royal Caribbean

Australia has extended its cruise ban by two months, in what CLIA Australasia calls "another devastating blow." The ban now goes until Feb. 17.

The association said Australia is the only major cruise market in the world without a plan to resume cruising. 

"Today's announcement that Australia's cruise ban has been extended by 2 months has dealt another devastating blow to the 18,000 Australians whose livelihoods depend on cruise tourism, including travel agents, tour operators, food and produce providers, entertainers, port workers and many other industry suppliers," CLIA Australasia said in a Facebook post on Dec. 10

"In other countries, close to 5 million people have already sailed successfully under the cruise industry's extensive new health protocols. We need federal and state governments to use the 8 weeks for genuine discussions with the cruise industry so we can plan a similar revival in Australia."

The organization added that the ban "is a further disappointment for thousands of cruise fans who faced uncertainty around their future holiday plans."

Australia's cruise suspension had been scheduled to end Dec. 17, but no official timetable for cruise resumption was ever discussed, according to CLIA Australasia. 

"Cruising involves long lead times, so it is essential that the industry can work closely with all governments and health authorities to establish detailed operational plans ahead of resumption," CLIA said. "It would take several months of preparations before cruise ships could return to Australian waters."

Australia's peak cruise season is now. As of October, most lines had given up on this year and planned to return in early 2022.

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