The two cruise ships sailing from Australia this year and next have been forced to make itinerary changes for several cruises through the end of 2023. The reason is two ports that are not accepting cruise ships.
The changes affect all cruises that have calls scheduled to the Isle of Pines and Mare, both in the island nation of New Caledonia.
First Itinerary Changes for Carnival Ships in South Pacific
Several locations worldwide are still hesitant to accept cruise ship traffic, as became clear this week in a message from Carnival Cruise Line. The company sent a letter to guests booked onboard Carnival Splendor and Carnival Luminosa cruises to New Caledonia, announcing several changes.
For Carnival Splendor and Carnival Luminosa, this means that all cruises scheduled to call in Mare, New Caledonia, or the Isle of Pines, New Caledonia through 2023, at least, will have itinerary changes.
Mare will not accept cruise ships through 2023, while for the Isle of Pines, there is no exact date, but cruise ships will not be welcome for the foreseeable future, said Carnival Cruise Line:
“New Caledonia authorities have informed us that Mare will not be accepting cruise ship visits through the end of 2023 and Isle of Pines for the foreseeable future. As a result, we have modified your itinerary.”
“Where possible, these ports have been replaced with another destination or a second visit to Noumea. Additionally, in order to accommodate these changes, it has been necessary to cancel Lifou Isle for Carnival Luminosa’s sailing on 17 December 2023 and Carnival Splendor’s sailing on 22 September 2023.”
Carnival’s Return to Australia
The return to Australia is not going exactly flawless just yet for Carnival Cruise Line. However, with the uncertainty surrounding the return of cruising to the region, some changes would be expected.
As it stands, Carnival Splendor just returned to Australia, sailing from Sydney. The ship became the first in more than two years to arrive in Australia carrying international guests, following her repositioning from Seattle.
In the coming weeks, Carnival Cruise Line’s newest addition will also arrive down under. Carnival Luminosa, just completed her extensive refit in Palermo, Italy.
Workers transformed the former Costa cruise ship, which now sports a beautiful new livery and most of the popular Carnival food and beverage outlets that guests know and love.
South Pacific Islands Open to Cruise Ships
While it will be disappointing that guests cannot visit Mare and Isle of Pines, not all South Pacific islands are closed.
Some islands in New Caledonia, such as Noumea and Lifou, are opening to cruise ships in the near future. In fact, the first cruise ship to sail to Noumea is scheduled to arrive tomorrow, October 4. P&O Australia’s Pacific Explorer will be the first arrival in more than two years to visit the Pacific island.
Following the call to Noumea, the ship will then sail to Lifou in the Loyalty Islands before returning to Sydney. P&O Australia’s President said this about the return of cruising to New Caledonia:
Marguerite Fitzgerald, President of P&O Cruises Australia: “As our own return to service gathers pace, the South Pacific is reconnecting with cruise tourism knowing how important its contribution is to island economies,” said
“With New Caledonia coming back online, P&O is once again widening its cruising horizons and we look forward to Vanuatu reopening its maritime borders to cruise ships before too long.
“Our positive relationships with these countries have been built up over decades and there is shared confidence and trust in what we do.”
New Caledonia is one of the most popular South Pacific destinations with a huge variety of natural beauty. Carnival Luminosa’s first cruise to New Caledonia will be on December 18, sailing from Brisbane, Australia. The ship will visit Lifou, New Caledonia, Mystery Island, Vanuatu, and Noumea, New Caledonia.
For Carnival Splendor, the first cruise to the South Pacific islands will be on December 5, sailing from Sydney. She will visit Noumea and Lifou, New Caledonia; and Mystery Island and Vila, Vanuatu.