WE’RE ALL GOING ON
A CRUISING HOLIDAY
By Dallas Sherringham
It’s time to dust off the passport and find the snorkel and flippers as cruise ships return to Sydney in late May ending a two year absence because of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent Federal Government ban.
It follows months of crusading by struggling travel agents, cruise line groups and cruise passengers as well as onshore businesses which depend on the $5bn cruise industry to survive.
Now it’s all water under the Sydney Harbor Bridge with P&Os popular Pacific Explorer set to depart Sydney late on the afternoon of May 31.
It will signal ‘business as normal’ for the industry which hosts more than one million Australians who enjoy life on a deckchair each year.
However life will be slightly different for passengers with strict protocols for COVID-19 including mandatory vaccinations, negative COVID tests prior to boarding, testing on board and masks being worn when in public areas.
And not every cruise line is rushing back to Australia for several reasons including the possibility of an instant lockdown if cases are recorded on ships.
Basing a cruise ship in Sydney costs tens of millions and many cruise lines wont risk cruising being shut down again on the whim of a Government Department or a Minister who has no idea about the industry.
Bargains can be found across most cruise lines as they battle to fill ships in the remainder of 2022 and into 2023. It’s just a matter of being vigilant and striking when you see a good fare advertised.
Always book with a reputable travel agent or online service,
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Mature Traveller decided to do a roundup of major cruise lines and their Australian return:
P&O Australia acted quickly after the announcement, moving sailings forward to May 31, when Pacific Explorer will sail from Sydney on a four-night roundtrip to Brisbane, before beginning a series of itineraries to Queensland and the South Pacific.
Pacific Adventure will be in Sydney from October 22, sailing to Adelaide for the first of four cruises.
Princess announced that Coral Princess would return to service early, arriving in Australia in June, running roundtrip Brisbane itineraries from three to 12 days long, across destinations in Queensland and NSW.
In August, Coral Princess will be based in Sydney, departing on a new 12-day voyage through Queensland and the Conflict Islands in Papua New Guinea, before starting her previously announced Australia and New Zealand program for 2022/2023.
Carnival Cruises will start cruising out of Australia from October, with a range of itineraries scheduled out of Sydney, however, there are currently no cruises scheduled out of Brisbane.
A Royal Caribbean spokesperson said sailings would not be brought forward and would start from October 21 with a full 2022-2023 Australian summer season from Sydney. Cruises from Brisbane start in November.
Itineraries will feature local Australian highlights of both the NSW and Queensland coast as well as New Zealand and South Pacific sailings.
Norwegian Cruise Line
Norwegian Spirit is set to arrive in December this year.
Ponant will be back in Australia from April 28 with Darwin as its home port, cruising the Kimberley.
During Summer 2022/23 one of its ships will visit sub-Antarctic islands of New Zealand as well as Australia’s Macquarie Island, together with Antarctica, the Ross Sea and Dunedin. The other vessel will be in Melanesia, then on the east coast of Australia with a focus on Tasmania.
Viking will have two of its ocean ships in local waters for the 2022-2023 Australia and New Zealand cruise season to round out the year. Viking Orion will return to her seasonal Sydney and Auckland home ports between November and March 2023, while Viking Mars arrives in Sydney in December.
Celebrity Cruises confirmed they won’t be returning to Australia ahead of schedule with Celebrity Eclipse here from October through to April 2023, visiting Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.
Oceania Cruises will be cruising from Sydney to Bali from December on a 14 day cruise to Bali on Regatta, with another cruise from Sydney to Auckland for 14 days leaving in January 2023.
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Regent Seven Seas will return to Sydney and Australia in December, cruising for 14-nights to Auckland and then from Sydney to Bali for 18-nights from January 26, 2023.
Silver Whisper and Silver Muse will come to Australia in December for a 2022/23 classic season. All sailings include New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region.
Above- Princess Cruises Below- Norwegian Cruise Lines
Above- :Royal Caribbean Below- Celebrity Cruises