The Australian Government has extended its ban on cruise ships until 17th September, 2020.
This decision, announced by the Australian Minister of Health, extends the ban on cruise ships capable of carrying more than 100 pax from operating cruises in Australia.
In making the announcement, the Australian Border Force (ABF) said that it has been in constant contact with the cruise industry, which had been co-operative and understands the Government’s overwhelming priority to ensure the health and safety of the broader Australian community, the ABF claimed.
Australia’s summer season normally begins in September.
New Zealand’s current cruise ship ban is set to expire on 30th June.
Spain has also extended its restriction on cruise ships entering its ports.
The US and Canada have jointly announced that they were extending their joint ban on non-essential travel across their borders to late June.
Previously, the Canadian Government had ordered its ports closed to cruise ships until 1st July. The British Columbia health ministry said tit was not in favour of cruises in the province this year.
On Canada’s east coast, Halifax and Saint John, New Brunswick both reported at their respective annual meetings that they are not expecting significant cruise ship calls this year.
As for the operators, Norwegian Cruise Line has extended its cessation of operations through 31st July, cancelling all July departures.
Windstar has also announced that the ‘Wind Spirit’ will be its first ship in its fleet to resume sailing with her first cruise departing on 3rd September, 2020.
In addition, Royal Caribbean International, including its sister brands Celebrity Cruises and Silversea Cruises, has extended the suspensions to 1st August, 2020, and in some cases into the Autumn of this year.
Recently, Disney Cruise Line suspended departures through 27th July, 2020. Holland America Line and Princess Cruises also recently extended their cancellations through the summer of 2020.
However, several US river cruise companies plan to restart next month but with enhanced precautionary measures.
American Queen Steamboat is planning to resume sailings from 21st June well in advance of the 24th July sunset date for the ending of the CDC ban on large cruise ship operations.
CDC’s ban does not cover vessels of under 250 pax capacity, but the company plans to operate with ships under that limit, according to Bloomberg.
If an American passenger or crew member fell ill during a cruise along the Mississippi or Ohio Rivers, they would be within reach of a hospital with the capacity for COVID-19 care – without port state restrictions or the challenges of repatriation.
US-flag operator American Cruise Lines, which is also due to restart next month, has reported an increase in domestic bookings as US cruisers turn to nearer options.
Advance bookings for the 2021 season are claimed to be more than 25% ahead of the same time last year, the company said. It also said that it is still advancing its active newbuilding programme to increase the size of its fleet.
“People want to travel, and they are beginning to plan experiences for later this year and in the year ahead. American’s modern fleet, unique itineraries, and low passenger counts, allow us to offer amazing domestic options, as folks begin to cruise again,” said David Luxeder, Director of Marketing for American Cruise Lines, talking with Bloomberg