By Ellen Morgan
Published: Wednesday, January 6, 2021
If you’ve been saving your pennies for a cruise across the seas for some time, no doubt you’re wondering when you’ll be able to set sail.
With a flurry of updates from the cruising industry and government bodies, it can be tricky to keep track of everything. But we’re here to help.
With recent announcements regarding dates, regulations and new processes, we’ve set out to answer your cruise FAQs. Now, you can plan, book and get excited about safe cruising in the future.
When will cruise travel resume from Australia?
While the global situation changes daily, recent updates from December 2020 revealed the travel ban for foreign-flagged cruise ships in and out of Australia has been extended until 17 March 2021.
The direction comes from the Australian Government and is largely due to the human biosecurity emergency period being extended – a decision made in consultation with medical and epidemiological experts.
With this in mind, it’s looking likely that cruise travel (with more than 100 people per ship) will be able to resume before the middle of 2021.
For those wanting to head on smaller cruises (less than 100 people), you’re in luck – these are already setting sail. You can pick from a range of options already available on these smaller cruise trips, Coral Expeditions on the Great Barrier Reef, or the Murray Princess or Proud Mary right here in South Australia.
The government and Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) are undertaking regular reviews of the global situation, so rest assured we’ll update you if the situation changes.
Will cruise travel be different in 2021?
In short, yes. The cruise industry has had to adapt in many ways, but it’s all for the greater good of passengers, staff and the industry.
Representing more than 60 cruise lines around the world, CLIA has been developing a new health framework. This means there will be new rules around testing, screening and sanitisation on cruise ships.
For ocean-going ships carrying more than 100 passengers, every member of CLIA globally has agreed to test every member of staff prior to their departure from home and embarking the ship, as well as regularly on board. Symptom screening will also occur daily for staff. For passengers, a negative test will be required before you hop aboard.
What else are cruise lines doing to help keep us safe?
Each cruise line is working on their own framework, all in-line with those put forward by CLIA. If you’d like to find out more, it’s best to speak with one of our travel agents or head to our latest FAQs and advice page for more.
Some measures for individual cruise lines include monitoring health guidelines and the COVID-19 situation prior to every port stop. This will ensure itineraries and journeys can be shifted if necessary.
There are extensive new cleaning procedures in place as well as hand washing stations and more health professionals on-board. These health professionals will receive extensive training and will have the capability to test for COVID-19.
Cruise lines like P&O and Princess will have dedicated rooms available for those who require isolation, and the air filtration systems on board their ships have been improved to meet new health recommendations.
Social distancing will be implemented on board, and touchless technology is increasing on many ships, too. This means on some ships like Princess, you can order food and drinks without handling cash, and mandatory safety demonstrations will now be able to be viewed online from your room, to help lessen the need for passenger crowding.
How can I make a booking for 2021?
With the current plan to get back sailing mid 2021, there’s no reason you can’t book ahead now and get excited about your next trip.
Many cruise lines have already released their itineraries for 2021-22, with a number of options for couples, families, solo travellers and more. It’s possible to book for most cruises well in advance, sometimes up to 18 or 24 months.
By booking early, you can secure your cabin of preference, and there are often bonus offers thrown in for those who deposit early.
Whether you want to stay sailing in Aussie waters or you’d prefer to venture further across the ocean, we have a variety of cruise packages to suit.
If you’d like to holiday here in Australia, our cruise options could have you disembarking on Tassie’s pristine coastline with P & O or exploring the sites between Adelaide and Melbourne, from Kangaroo Island to Philip Island thanks to Princess Cruises.
According to our travel team, two of the latest additions to the 2022 cruise offerings – Alaska and Europe – will be hot property, so it’s best to book in advance. While they’re unlikely to be available in 2021, you can easily secure your spot on these for 2022 now, with just a small deposit required.
What if I’ve got a Future Cruise Credit?
If your cruise plans have already been cancelled due to the pandemic and you hold Future Cruise Credit, you can rebook with our travel experts at RAA – even if you didn’t originally book with us.
For those who haven’t yet arranged Future Cruise Credit, or are unsure if their cruise booking will be affected by the extended travel ban, talk to one of our experts. Our team can help you reschedule your booking to a later cruise date, or arrange Future Cruise Credit to use at your convenience.
* Please note: information in this article was correct at time of publishing on January 6, 2021