Cruise Resumption Australia: Safety Beyond Covid

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Cruise Resumption Australia Pacific Explorer return

The cruise resumption in Australia is underway – finally! The day after the cruise ban ended, P&O’s Pacific Explorer entered Sydney harbour for the first time in over 2 years. Our expert cruise lawyer Victoria Roy was there watching the action, and reflects on what this means for cruise fans. 

International cruise ships return

The emergency period under the Biosecurity Act 2015 that stopped foreign flagged cruise ships entering Australian waters ended on 17 April 2022.

Australia’s home grown cruise line – P&O Cruises Australia – marked the occasion in spectacular fashion.  On 18 April 2022 its flagship vessel Pacific Explorer entered Sydney harbour with a flotilla of well wishing locals and three water cannon tugs.

I was there to see the action, and I must admit it brought a tear to my eye! Being a huge travel and cruise fan, I was thrilled to see a ship back home in Circular Quay.

But the vessel’s return meant so much more than that for me.  It marked the closing of a challenging chapter.  For those Australians who either depend on the travel and cruise industry for their livihoods, or who have cruising as their passion and escapism which was taken away, Pacific Explorer’s glorious return was symbolic of the good times ahead.

Victoria Roy was at Sydney Harbour to witness Pacific Explorer’s return

Cruise resumption Covid safety

With the Federal Government ban on cruise ships over, States and Territories are finalising their health protocols for the cruise resumption in Australia.

Passengers can expect similar Covid health protocols that we have on land. Each State and Territory is setting its own rules, but examples are:

  • Full vaccination requirements for passengers over 12
  • Pre-embarkation testing
  • Social distancing
  • Isolation in case of infection

Each cruise line will also adopt its own policies including on masks.

The cruise industry and passengers should also expect to be flexible.  As we have seen with the Delta and Omicron variants, the Covid situation can change quickly.  Protocols and rules may therefore change to adapt to circumstances at the time.

Passengers should expect to receive full information about the policies and protocols in place for their cruise prior to departure.

Passenger safety beyond Covid

When you go on your next cruise, remember that cruising safely goes beyond Covid safety measures.

Cruise ships are moving cities.  With all the fun and relaxation that they bring, they also contain typical hazards that you would expect on land –  like spilled drinks and dropped ice creams  – except unlike a shopping centre, they are moving! Remember therefore to watch where you are walking.

Ships’ movement is affected by the weather and sea conditions. Take extra care on open decks in the rain, and hold on to handrails and furniture if you are having difficulty balancing.

If a medical emergency or accident occurs it can be very expensive to get you to land, even in domestic waters.   I therefore highly recommend travel insurance.  For more information about cruising and insurance here.

Finally, after waiting to cruise again for 2 years, I truly wish you a safe voyage and that you never need my services.  However, accidents do happen.  If you or a loved one have an accident on a cruise, you need to know what to do.  Download my free Cruise Ship Accident Checklist just in case.

Bon voyage!

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