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Vanuatu plots cruise return with trial voyages

A staged return of cruising to Vanuatu will be pioneered in November this year, with two P&O cruises operating trial visits to Port Vila, Mystery Island and Santo in collaboration with the country's government.

P&O Cruises Australia is partnering with authorities in Vanuatu, collaborating to enable the careful restart of cruising in the Pacific destination. Two “trial” voyages from Australia in November this year will be used to test protocols and procedures, with the initiative hopefully facilitating a broader restart of cruising to the archipelago.

P&O has a long association with the island nation, with Carnival Australia President, Marguerite Fitzgerald, saying “Following on from the reopening of cruising to New Zealand, New Caledonia and Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu’s decision to reopen completes the network of cruise destinations that makes the Pacific one of the world’s most dynamic regions for cruise tourism”.

The two pilot voyages include a Pacific Encounter departure from Brisbane on 05 November, which will be the first post-pandemic cruise ship to visit Vanuatu with a call to Port Vila scheduled on 09 November. Then cruising out of Sydney on 14 November, Pacific Adventure will call at Mystery Island on 18 November, Port Vila on 19 November and Santo on 20 November.

Fitzgerald said she was grateful to the government of Vanuatu for placing its confidence in P&O Cruises Australia for helping pave the way for the broader reintroduction of cruising. “We respect the government’s decision to reintroduce cruising in such a careful and respectful way and reaffirm our commitment to Vanuatu’s island communities for whom cruising is such an important part of their economic life,” she said.

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