Expressing disappointment for passengers and concern at no agreed plan for the restart of cruising, P&O Australia extended its pause of operations until mid-April 2022, marking a full 2 years suspension.
This marks the 23rd cancellation announcement since P&O Australia’s rolling pause started in March 2020 in response to the COVID crisis.
Sture Myrmell (P&O Australia's President) said that during the entire period passengers had displayed "incredible patience and loyalty to P&O and cruising."
“However, as we approach the two-year mark in our rolling pause in operations, it is understandable that our guests will be very disappointed and frustrated that there is still no agreed restart plan for cruising in Australia.
“Federal and state governments are yet to outline their requirements for restart despite the nation’s high vaccination rate, the cruise industry’s comprehensive health protocols, vaccination policies for guests and crew and the successful resumption of cruising in other international markets.
“Our loyal guests, travel agents and many suppliers whose businesses depend on cruising along with thousands of jobs are simply looking for certainty so that they can plan for the future. Reaching this two-year anniversary is discouraging for so many of them.”
The Federal Government last week extended Australia’s cruise ship ban by another 2 months to February in what the industry body, CLIA-Cruise Lines International Association, described as a “devastating blow” to the ~18,000 Australians whose livelihoods depend on cruising.
However, even after a resumption plan and operating requirements are agreed upon with governments, it will take several months to prepare for the return.
Passengers whose bookings are affected by the new pause announcement will be notified of the options available either directly or via their travel agent.