According to the company's President Sture Myrmell, governments were "linking society returning to normal to sufficient numbers of Australians being vaccinated for COVID-19."
The industry has been seeking to work with the Australian government and public health authorities since October 2020 to agree on a pathway for the resumption of cruises within Australia for Australian residents.
The cruise industry developed the most stringent health protocols found anywhere in tourism. The protocols, used in other parts of the world, feature 100% testing of all passengers and crew members (with a negative test result required before boarding) as well as extensive protocols covering sanitation, distancing, health monitoring, response procedures, and crew quarantine.
In the "absence of an agreed pathway for the resumption of domestic cruising in Australia," P&O Cruises said it was still unclear for how long it would require vaccinated-only voyages.
The company added it would provide guests with further details on the policy once there was an agreed restart date for domestic sailings. However, the broad intent was to require proof of vaccination for those eligible to be vaccinated at the time.
P&O Australia said that any passenger who wishes to cancel their voyage due to the vaccination policy would receive a full refund.