Cunard and Seabourn cancel Aussie cruise seasons once again

Sydney, Australia - March 4, 2014: MS Queen Victoria Cruise arrives at the Sydney harbor during the day

Two Carnival Corporation cruise lines have been forced to cancel their Aussie seasons due to continued travel restrictions.

Last Thursday, Health Minister Greg Hunt extended the human biosecurity emergency period under the Biosecurity Act 2015 for a further three months, with its new potential end date falling on 17 September.

As a result of the ongoing global restrictions, both Cunard and Seabourn have announced a swathe of changes to their itineraries.

Cunard has cancelled Queen Elizabeth’s Sailings from the UK to Australia and the ships homeport season in Australia from 18 October 2021 up to and including 9 March 2022.

The line has also cancelled Queen Victoria’s sailings from 10 September 2021 up to and including 29 April 2022. However, V126, V128, V129, V130 and V201 will be transferred to its sister ship Queen Elizabeth.

Cunard plans to resume operations from 19 July with Queen Elizabeth embarking on a series of UK voyages from Southampton.

Queen Mary 2 will resume sailing with a Transatlantic crossing on 14 November 2021 with a series of voyages around the Caribbean between January and April 2022 before resuming her existing published schedule on 24 April 2022.

Likewise, Seabourn has cancelled Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation’s Australia, Asia and Middle Eastern sailings for the 2021-2022 fall or winter/spring seasons.

The line is also cancelling select departures on Seabourn Encore and Seabourn Ovation between 1 September 2021 and 26 April 2022 to align with the overall restart plan.

Following the summer season in the Greek Isles, Seabourn Ovation will now sail a selection of departures originally scheduled to operate on Seabourn Sojourn from 9 October to 21 December 2021.

In the new year, the ship will operate 12 new sailings in the Caribbean/Panama Canal and Europe from January through May 2022 before resuming its originally planned deployment in the Western Mediterranean.

The emergency period, which has been in place since 18 March 2020, restricts the entry of cruise vessels within Australian territory as well as both outbound and inbound international travel.

Other emergency determinations include mandatory pre-departure testing and mask-wearing for international flights and restrictions on trade for retail outlets at international airports.

The news comes as the Cruise Lines Industry Association (CLIA) revealed that 40,000 emails have been sent by travel agents and industry stakeholders to state and federal MPs urging them to revive cruising as part of its  ‘Ready, Set, Sail’ campaign.

CLIA and its cruise line members are calling for governments to agree upon a detailed framework for cruising’s resumption, backed by the industry’s new global health protocols.

The industry is pushing for the implementation of these protocols as part of a phased resumption that begins with domestic cruising for Australians, within an Australian bubble.

Featured image source: iStock/andresr

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