Australia’s Minister for Health and Aged Care Greg Hunt announced that the country would extend the heath regulations first put in place in March 2020 as a response to the Omicron variant.
he efforts include restrictions on international travel ranging from testing and mask requirements for flights to limits for unvaccinated Australians and restrictions on the entry of cruise vessels within Australian territory.
The trade group Cruise Lines International Association’s Australian organization did not welcome this decision, describing it a “devastating blow” to the 18,000 Australians whose livelihoods depend on cruise tourism.
The group has now begun to work with the government in an effort to expand the current exemption for expedition cruises in the Kimberley region. More specifically, they are calling on the government to increase the passenger limit to 200 for these cruises that typically begin in May and extend for a six-month season.
As a result of Australia’s decision, Carnival Corporation’s P&O Cruises Australia announced that it is yet again extending its cancelation of cruises.
As it said, the extension of the suspension of operations until mid-April 2022 “marks the twenty-third cruise cancellation announcement since P&O Cruises Australia’s rolling pause began in March 2020 in response to the pandemic.”
While most of the world’s major cruise markets have allowed cruises to resume, Australia, New Zealand, and China are among the largest markets that remain closed.
Other countries in Asia, such as Japan, Singapore, and Hong Kong, allow domestic cruising to resume under strict restrictions, while Taiwan and Malaysia are also moving to restore operations with similar limits.