The lack of a clear path towards restarting cruises in Australia and guidelines lacking detail, or that don’t exist altogether, has forced Royal Caribbean to follow other cruise lines that operate in the area and cancel its 2021-2022 cruise season in the region. The cancellation affects Ovation of the Seas.
Despite international travel opening up for Australians, they could soon be in the position to be able to cruise overseas and return to Australia, but not cruise inside the country itself.
Lack of a Clear Pathway
The same problems that affected Carnival Cruise Line and caused that company to cancel its Australia season are affecting Royal Caribbean. There is a general lack of clear guidelines and a pathway to restart cruising in Australia once again.
Royal Caribbean says it is actively engaging the Australian government to resume operations in the country as soon as possible; for now, the Federal and State Governments in the country have not given any signs of hope.
Ovation of the Seas sailings between December of this year and the end of March 2022 have been cancelled as a result.
Royal Caribbean said: “We know this news is disappointing, and we’re sorry for the impact to your holiday plans. Our guests and crew remain our number one priorities and we are reaching out to affected guests and travel partners to share further details and address any questions or concerns. We appreciate your patience, understanding, and continued loyalty. We look forward to welcoming you back on board soon.”
Guests reacted disappointed on the company’s Australian Facebook page, stating disbelief in the ability of the government to provide options for the cruise lines to sail in Australia:
One person commented: Such a shame and extremely disappointing the Australian Govt have not prioritized, or apparently even planned, for cruising options as they talk up opening other areas of travel – looking forward to your new programme when released!
The problem the Australian government is facing now is its own policies. With the government opening up international travel soon, guests will be able to sail onboard cruise ships abroad, but not in Australia.
CLIA Warns of Absurd Situations in Near Future
Cruise Lines International Association warned Australians could soon be in the absurd position of flying overseas to go cruising but still be unable to do so from their own country. While the opening of international travel in the country is great news, it does little good for companies such as Royal Caribbean.
CLIA Managing Director Australasia Joel Katz 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.”
While the majority of countries worldwide acknowledge the measures cruise lines have taken to allow for safe cruising, Australia does not seem to be on the same page:
“We need detailed discussions with Australian governments so we can break the cycle of inaction and agree upon a detailed framework for cruising’s resumption. The health protocols introduced overseas are working and we need an opportunity to introduce them in Australia so we can plan a careful and responsible recovery.”
While CLIA and Royal Caribbean continue talks with the Australian government, the facts on the table are clear. Cancelling Ovation of the Seas’ season speaks volumes about the cruise line’s confidence in those talks.