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

Breaking News

Tourism

Omicron variant reaches Australia, Hunt Says Australia Ready

Here’s what you need to know.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Cupitt’s Estate snags gold at the 2021 Independent Beer Awards

The team at Cupitt’s Estate won three medals at Australia’s Independent Beer Awards (The Indies) including a gold. The NSW […]

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Tourism

Qantas introduces new green tier program

Apparently the initiative is not so top tier! It’s not easy being green.

Share

CommentComments

Breaking News

Hotels

News

Mother charged with arson after hotel fire

We understand hotel quarantine can leave you hot under the collar, but this is ridiculous!

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Hilton is hosting a festive dinner for your furry little friends

Want to feel bad about whatever you’ve brought for lunch today? Check out the spread Hilton Hotels are putting on for their guests’ dogs this Christmas.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Tourism Minister seeks feedback on strategy to rebuild Australia’s visitor economy

The federal government is keen to hear your thoughts about its master plan to revamp tourism and if you ask us, all we need is more gigantic roadside fruit a la Big Banana.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Virgin drops massive Cyber Monday sale with Bali flights from $425 and domestic fares from $49

Apologise to your bank account for us, ’cause just when you thought the Black Friday sale bombardment had ended, it’s time for Cyber Monday!

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

“sacrilège!”: Travelling influencer enrages the French with croissant faux pas

by Ali Coulton

A German influencer has infuriated Parisians by committing the ultimate crime against pastries. Can you see what’s wrong with this picture?

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Jetstar pilot charged with murder as police continue search for missing campers

After three days of police questioning, Greg Lynn has been charged over the disappearance of two campers who went missing last year.

Share

CommentComments

Wholesalers

AAT Kings offers remote outback experience with new Queensland jaunt

This fresh itinerary promises an immersive look into Queensland’s wild west, so send your clients a case of XXXX Gold and tell them to get packing.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

Flight Centre slashes package prices as Skroo urges Queensland to “move on”

Say a prayer for your Flight Centre colleagues today, because they’re about to get bombarded by travel starved bargain hunters.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Hilton’s new campaign encourages consumers to “travel the world” closer to home

The advertising push champions international experiences in domestic locations. For example, sipping espresso outside a Melbourne cafe and then crying because you’re not in Italy.

Share

CommentComments