Cruising is back, baby!
After a long two-year hiatus, International Cruise Ships will finally be able to return to Australia within weeks.
It comes after the Federal Government today confirmed they would not be renewing the ban on large international cruise vessels, which is due to come to an end on April 17.
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The popular holiday ships have been blocked from entering Australia since March 2020, when the pandemic hit.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the decision to allow the resumption of cruise ships was based on medical advice.
“On the basis of medical advice and with the agreement of National Cabinet, lifting the cruise ban is consistent with the reopening of Australia’s international border and shows that we have successfully navigated Australia’s emergency response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Hunt said.
However, there will be a number of additional safety measures in place, including a requirement for passengers to be double vaccinated.
Cruise vessels will also have to ask permission before unloading their passengers and cargo; and there will be enhanced pre-arrival COVID identification and reporting processes.
“National cabinet has confirmed the positive progress by the eastern states and the cruise industry to develop appropriate health protocols and common guidelines to support a safe return to cruising,” Mr Hunt said in a joint statement with Home Affairs Minister Karen Andrews and Trade Minister Dan Tehan.
“International cruise ships will still need to meet all state and territory public health requirements of the jurisdiction into which they berth.
“State and territories will advise their readiness to receive cruise ships”.
The announcement will be music to the ears of the cruise industry, which has been pleading for a return for months.
“Great news for the cruise industry, tourism, the broader economy and the Australians who love to take a cruise holiday,” Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan said.
“The resumption of cruising is another key step forward in the tourism sector’s recovery from COVID-19.
“We look forward to welcoming cruise ships and passengers back to Australian waters.”