Travel SOS: When will cruising restart in Australia?

With the travel bubble between Australia and New Zealand set to reopen, will we see cruising restart earlier than expected?

Q. Miriam
With the announcement this week that quarantine-free travel between Australia and New Zealand has been approved, will this extend to cruising? Will it mean that cruises are able to start as soon as the bubble is opened or will we still have to wait for cruises?

A. The federal government last announced that the restrictions on outbound international travel and the entry of cruise ships to Australian territory had been extended until 17 June, but it is unclear whether the announcement of the trans-Tasman travel bubble will alter the dates when cruising can start between the two countries.

Read more: When will Fiji cruises be up and running?

Operators have yet to indicate when they are planning to operate cruises across the Tasman and it would appear there are still a number of issues to be worked out in that regard.

It does seem logical that cruising between the two countries can start when the travel bubble is officially opened, but operators will still have to work through the logistics of how this will happen.

With many operators already committing to domestic travel, it could be difficult to reschedule any trans-Tasman cruises before the 17 June deadline when we expect the next missive on how international travel will move forward.

Read more: Cruisers turn to superyachts to satisfy cravings?

One of the biggest logistical challenges presented to restarting cruises is that many of the cruise ships are currently stationed in Asia and Europe and would have to undergo quarantine before being ready for trans-Tasman travel.

Most of the large ships used for cruising would need around 12 weeks to prepare for passengers, which really still sets back the idea of large-scale cruises restarting between Australia and New Zealand.

Read more: Sailing through retirement

The minister in charge of Australia’s tourism portfolio, Dan Tehan, has sparked optimism for cruisers and cruise lines.

“The cruise industry has done a lot of work to make sure that cruising now is COVID safe. They’ve put protocols in place, so people should be confident to be able to go and book cruises,” he said.

“They also should be confident to be able to book, you know, wonderful vacations right across this nation, because we’ve got so many wonderful places to see – whether you’re doing it as part of a cruise around our coastline, or going to visit just the wonderful places right across the nation.”

While operators are yet to commit to a start date for cruising between Australia and New Zealand, you should definitely keep your eyes peeled for announcements as they won’t be too far away.

Would you be confident booking a cruise to New Zealand now that the travel bubble has been announced? Are you still satisfied with sailing domestically?

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Ben Hocking
Ben Hocking
Ben Hocking is a skilled writer and editor with interests and expertise in politics, government, Centrelink, finance, health, retirement income, superannuation, Wordle and sports.
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