In brief: cruise news from April 2020
All passengers safe
ALL Australian passengers once stuck aboard cruise ships during the COVID-19 outbreak have now been repatriated.
Reports of Aussies stranded aboard vessels such as Azamara Pursuit, Diamond Princess, Greg Mortimer, Norwegian Jewel, and Zaandam, led to fears of when nationals abroad might make it home, with the vessels banned from docking in multiple countries.
However, efforts from the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, as well as the intervention of the private sector in helping fund repatriation charters, has since seen all Australians returned home.
Crystal shuts down Australian office
Crystal Cruises last month announced the closure of its Australian office.
The move was revealed alongside a range of “offensive and defensive measures”, which included a review of worldwide businesses to ensure the cruise line will weather the COVID-19 pandemic.
The operational and sales & marketing duties of Crystal’s Sydney office are being transitioned to Genting Cruise Lines’ Sydney team, with Crystal Senior Vice President & MD Australasia Karen Christensen remaining with the company for 90 days to assist.
Cruise terminal delay
Works on a proposed new Sydney cruise terminal in Botany Bay have been put on hold for at least 18 months due to the COVID-19 crisis. All community and industry engagement has been suspended, with locals strenuously opposing the plans for a potential operation between Yarra Bay and Molineaux Point.
NSW Transport and Ports Minister, Andrew Constance, said there was significant uncertainty about post-coronavirus demand for cruising, while various official probes into the Ruby Princess — including an official Commission of Inquiry — mean any cruise-related projects are a political hot potato.
The state’s anti-cruise stance was further accentuated during the month when Police Commissioner Mick Fuller ordered all cruise ships to depart.