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

Hotels

DayAway lands in Australia

The online booking site is here to show Aussies that you no longer have to trawl through your travel a directory for somewhere to stay.

Share

CommentComments

Tourism

Catalonia Tourism Board launch grand tour and announce partnership with FC Barcelona

If witnessing FC Barcelona beat some Aussies in a football game last night wasn’t enough Catalonian culture for you, maybe consider a nice tour through the Catalonian country side to really take it in!

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Jackson Hole reveal what’s new for the Winter 22/23 season

If it’s been 2 and a half years since you’ve been skiing then Jackson Hole have you sorted with a variety of new adventures on offer this year.

Share

CommentComments

Events

Get to know one of our incredible Travel DAZE speakers, Dr. Karl! Tickets are going fast!

Travel DAZE is fast approaching and we have Australia’s most loved clever person gracing us with an incredible talk on the psychological benefits of travel.

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Airbnb leaves China amid ongoing lockdowns

Like a soon to be ex-wife that complains about her husband never leaving the house, Airbnb is leaving the reclusive Chinese market.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Scoot launches flights to South Korea’s ‘Hawaii of East Asia’

Want a Hawaiian holiday but got yourself banned on your last trip? Here’s the next best thing.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Register for duo, Air New Zealand’s new training and engagement hub and be in the draw to win some epic prizes

Air New Zealand launched its new training and engagement hub called duo, with training, campaigns, incentives the latest brand updates, plus more.

Share

CommentComments

News

Samoa finally announces border re-opening!

The Pacific Island paradise has been working hard to get travel ready and will soon welcome Aussies back to its sunny shores!

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

“Heroic” flight attendant comes to the rescue as woman gives birth on Frontier Airlines flight

We here at Travel Weekly think this woman deserves a raise, or at least an honorary midwifery degree.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Are you a ‘local legend’? Bonza is on the lookout for 17 ambassadors!

We feel as though a local legend could either be a dedicated charity worker in the community or someone who frequently drinks beer out of a shoe!

Share

CommentComments

Events

Travel DAZE speaker Matt Endycott from nib chats all things travel! Get your tickets now!

We’ve got Matt Endycott – one of our exciting speakers – to share his thoughts on the industry. Come to Travel DAZE to hear Matt discuss all things travel!

Share

CommentComments

Midweek Interview

Midweek Catch-up with TRAVLR’s Roann Roberts

We love an alliterative name, all the best superheroes and villains have them. We’re not sure where TRAVLR’s head of global travel product sits on that spectrum, though.

Share

CommentComments