Cruise

Ponant forced to cancel NZ cruise season over visa dispute

Ponant has been forced to cancel its New Zealand ‘bubble expedition’ season, disrupting the travel plans of more than 650 Kiwis.

Having initially been granted permission to sail in New Zealand waters from this month with a maximum of 100 passengers, Le Lapérouse was forced to turn around 200 nautical miles off the New Zealand coast to head back to New Caledonia after hearing of the decision.

Immigration NZ (INZ) denied visas to 61 of 90 crew members on the ships, as they were working in “hotel” type roles and were considered non-essential.

Earlier this week, Ponant’s Asia Pacific chair, Sarina Bratton, told Stuff the cruise line was trying to hire an extra 20 Kiwis to meet INZ’s requirements, but most of those with maritime experience were working on superyachts for the America’s Cup.

Bratton said the line was still talking with INZ about getting visas for 41 crew members; however, if INZ refused to budge, the whole cruise season would be cancelled.

“Following a detailed application submitted in October, including the numbers, and nationality makeup of the crew to arrive on the ship, the Ministry of Health issued an approval in mid-December,” Ponant said in a statement.

“The approval’s conditions were to operate with a limit of 100 guests, within NZ waters, for Kiwis only.

Le Lapérouse and her full complement of 90 crew were mobilised under strict COVID isolation and multiple testing protocols and sailed from her anchorage off Jakarta on January 10 for New Zealand. Health officials were scheduled to test all crew upon arrival on 30 January.”

The line was forced to cancel all seven of Le Lapérouse’s fully booked sailings, disrupting the travel plans of more than 650 New Zealanders and causing an estimated $6 million in economic loss to food, beverage, ground operator SMEs across the country.

“After travelling more than 3600 nautical miles, the company was advised on 27 January that visa applications for the hotel department officers and crew were not considered critical to the ship’s entry to NZ and the applications were declined,” the line said.

“The company was advised that the ship must not enter the 200-mile NZ Exclusive Economic Zone, otherwise face arrest, with imprisonment penalties for the ship’s officers and company management.

“The ship was instructed by INZ to turnaround and go elsewhere. Low on fuel, the only safe option was to apply for entry to New Caledonia, which was granted allowing the ship to arrive yesterday.”


SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Wholesalers

The Globus family of brands will now require travellers to show proof of vaccination

If you’ve got clients booked to join any Globus, Cosmos, Avalon Waterways or Monograms trip, you’d better pray they’re not anti-vaxxers.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Qantas to resume 12 international routes from 18 December

by Ali Coulton

If all goes to plan, 18 December will now be known as the beginning of the end of Australia’s overseas travel ban hellscape. Coincidentally, it’s also our deputy editor’s birthday!

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Longest-running CEO of any major hotel company calls time on career

BWH Hotel Group’s longtime president and CEO is retiring, with an Esky, BBQ tongs and Big Mouth Billy Bass Singing Fish mooted as possible leaving gifts.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

ETG agents score access to thousands of custom trips via Designer Journeys

The company’s network of independent agents can now impress clients with access to loads of tailorable itineraries and expert advice.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Coral Expeditions launches new summer sailings along South Australia’s wild coast

The five new journeys all take place intrastate, so even the toughest border closures can’t put a stop to these babies. As long as your clients live in SA, that is.

Share

CommentComments

Road & Rail

The Wiggles Team Up With Tourism Australia To Show Kids How To Travel “The Wiggly Way”

The Wiggles are teaching kids how to road trip across Australia. Rule one: pack a fruit salad and a few hot potatoes to snack on.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Sydney Airport receives another takeover bid

Will it be a case of third time lucky for the consortium of investors? Not if “Rocket” Rod Sims finds any glaring problems with the deal.

Share

CommentComments

Cruise

Federal Court blocks Princess Cruises’ attempt to ban US and UK passengers from class action

The judge said blocking the passengers from joining the class action could risk bringing “the administration of justice into disrepute”, which doesn’t sound ideal if you ask us.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

UK scraps vaccine passports, as PM outlines new COVID plan for winter

Boris Johnson has caved in to pressure from his own party, which argued the vaccine passport plan would be an infringement on human rights.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Celebrate the planet on the first-ever World Sustainable Traveller Day!

TW staff are celebrating this momentous occasion by heading to our local cafés to refill our KeepCups not once, not twice, but a whopping THREE times. Cue the coffee jitters.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

WATCH: New video showcases the dizzying luxury of Vienna

by Sponsored by the Austrian National Tourist Office

Get a glimpse of one of Europe’s most luxurious destinations through a flash new video that uncovers the opulence of Austria’s capital.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Richard Munro returns as CEO of the Accommodation Association

Munro, who even had a brief stint at the Cronulla Sharks after exiting the association, has returned to his old stomping ground.

Share

CommentComments