P&O Cruises Australia, one of the leading operators in the country, has extended its pause on operations to mid-April. This will mark a full two years that the cruise line has remained on hold down under as the government has still not come up with a path forward.
P&O Australia Extends Pause on Operations
It looks like those waiting to go on a P&O cruise in Australia are going to have to wait even longer as the cruise line has extended its suspension. Cruises are now cancelled until mid-April 2022 as the government has not set any resumption pathway.
The previous extension was to March 2022, so cruises are cancelled from March 3, 2022, until April 16, 2022, from Sydney and Brisbane.
President of P&O Cruises Australia Sture Myrmell, said: “However, as we approach the two-year mark in our rolling pause in operations, it is understandable that our guests will be very disappointed and frustrated that there is still no agreed restart plan for cruising in Australia.”
“Federal and state governments are yet to outline their requirements for restart despite the nation’s high vaccination rate, the cruise industry’s comprehensive health protocols, vaccination policies for guests and crew and the successful resumption of cruising in other international markets.”
Myrmell added: “Our loyal guests, travel agents and many suppliers whose businesses depend on cruising along with thousands of jobs are simply looking for certainty so that they can plan for the future. Reaching this two-year anniversary is discouraging for so many of them.”
Cruise Industry Needs to Reopen in Australia
By the time mid-April arrives, it will mean P&O Australia has remained on hold in the country for a full two years. It comes as the government announced last Friday that it is extending the ban on cruise ships for an additional two months due to growing concerns about the new variant.
With cruise ships needing several months to prepare to return to service after any green light, it’s a significant blow to the industry and for those guests waiting to go cruising once again.
Myrmell continued to say: “After an absence of two years, it will take us several months and significant cost to manage the complex logistics necessary to return a ship to service before sailing back to Australian waters.”
“This includes engaging our crew and re-training them to meet new operating protocols when they are known as well as re-stocking the ship with local fresh produce and refreshing onboard guest service operations that have also been on-hold for such a long time.”
“It is a big task and we need to understand the operating environment before we begin the process of returning. To date, no government authority, federal or state, has provided feedback on the industry’s proposed operational guidelines to enable an informed decision on bringing our ships back to Australia.”
When the extended ban on cruise ships was announced, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) said it was disappointing for cruisers and another devastating blow to the 18,000 Australians whose livelihood depends on cruise tourism. Australia is the only major cruise market that has not yet opened. The US, UK, Europe, and even Asia are already seeing cruise ships return.
Carnival Cruise Line has already extended its pause on operations in the country for Carnival Splendor and Carnival Spirit into mid-April 2022.