The Pacific Explorer from P&O Cruises has become the first cruise ship to arrive on Australian shores since the start of the pandemic more than two years ago. The ship sailed into Circular Quay in Sydney Harbour at 10.30am on Easter Monday, one day after the Federal Government’s ban on cruise ships was lifted. And by all accounts, a euphoric feeling rippled through thousands of observers watching from around the Harbour Bridge area.
The cruise ship wore a large banner saying “WE’RE HOME” on the front and was showered by tug boats carrying water cannons in celebration of the arrival.
The Pacific Explorer is the first of several ships expected to arrive on Australian shores over the coming weeks, restarting an industry that was forced into dormancy as the world battled Covid-19.
Read more: Travel at 60 is celebrating the return of cruising to Australia with heaps of hot deals on cruises.
The ship sailed from Cyprus where it has been anchored alongside other ships. It sailed in with approximately 250 staff on board, and no passengers, with its first passenger departure sailing from Sydney to Brisbane on May 31.
Before the pandemic, Australia welcomed more than 600,000 cruise ship passengers on almost 350 vessels. So the return of the first cruise ship is an exciting turning point for cruise-lovers who have mourned the loss of their seaborne adventures.
Significant public health measures have been committed to by the Federal Government and the cruise industry players to enable the restarting of the industry.
International cruise ships will are required to meet all state and territory public health requirements for the jurisdiction into which they berth with States being able to advise whether they are ready to receive cruise ships. And the cruise industry has been mandated with two big requirements that will help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission aboard cruise ships.
More than 95 per cent of Australians over the age of 16 are considered fully vaccinated.
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