P&O Cruises Australia has extended its pause on operations for an additional month as the country is not yet open for the cruise industry despite allowing people to travel from the country internationally from November 1. However, the cruise line has seen some positive signs and hopes to resume cruises in the near future.
P&O Cruise Ships Remain on Hold in Australia
On October 26, P&O Australia provided an update on its situation with resuming cruise operations. The Carnival-owned cruise brand provided some hope with positive signs on the country dealing with COVID, such as increased vaccination numbers and the prospect of travel reopening soon.
However, there is no clear timeframe on when the government is ready to allow the cruise industry to restart, resulting in further suspensions. It does mean that P&O cruise ships in Australia will remain on hold for a further month to February 14, 2022. There will be additional cruise cancellations from January 15, 2022, which was the previous suspension end date.
P&O Cruises Australia President Sture Myrmell said, “We are naturally disappointed for our guests and our many suppliers to have to extend the pause in operations by a further month.”
“With society rapidly reopening including social gathering and travel just weeks away, there is a vital need for a pathway for the staged resumption of domestic cruising. Our guests have made it clear they want to cruise again and we look forward to welcoming them on board as soon as possible supported by comprehensive protocols based on world’s best public health practice and standards.”
“We are also mindful of the many businesses who rely on cruising for their livelihoods across food and fresh produce, marine engineering and logistics, entertainment and, of course, travel agents.”
Cruise Industry Needs a Clear Path
The Australian government has already announced that it will allow its citizens and residents to travel internationally from November 1, 2021. Still, there has not yet been any specific in regards to cruises. Australia remains one of the final cruise markets that has not yet allowed cruise ships to sail in its waters. The US, UK, Europe, and Asia have already opened up to cruises with protocols to keep guests and crew safe.
CLIA Managing Director Australasia Joel Katz recently said, “Australia is now one of the only major cruise markets in the world with no clear plan for cruising’s revival. Australians love to cruise, but we now face the ridiculous possibility that we will be able to travel overseas to take a cruise but won’t be able to sail in our own waters.”
For now, the aim for the cruise industry down under is to restart cruises domestically with strict protocols in place. With sister lines such as Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, and Costa Cruises already sailing successfully with protocols, this should not be a problem for P&O Australia.
P&O Cruises is not the only cruise line down under impacted by suspended operations. Carnival Cruise Line has two ships on hold into February 2022. And Royal Caribbean has already cancelled its entire Australia cruising season for Ovation of the Seas into Spring 2022.