Ship sail

Covid-19: WA to resume cruise ship travel

Cruise ships will soon return to Western Australia, but it won’t be easy for everyone. Here’s what you need to know before you pack your bags.

Cruise ships will soon return to Western Australia – but it won’t be easy for everyone, with the state government imposing strict travel conditions.

The federal government will lift the ban on cruise ships starting April 17, allowing each jurisdiction to set its own rules about resuming the popular travel experience.

On Sunday, WA Premier Mark McGowan revealed plans for his state’s “safe and organized” resumption of cruising with strict protocols.

In the initial phase, Australian and international flagged cruise ships with up to 350 guests and crew will be permitted in WA waters.

All cruise ships operating in WA must have a Covid-19 management plan, while all crew and passengers will need to be vaccinated with double doses and receive their third dose if eligible.

Pending health advice, Fremantle and regional ports including Esperance, Albany, Busselton, Bunbury, Geraldton, Exmouth, Port Hedland and Broome will be able to accommodate larger cruise ships from October 1.

Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth is expected to be the first of the larger ships to visit Fremantle on November 7.

Before the pandemic, there were 106 cruise ship visits to WA in 2019-20, generating $261.9 million for the state’s economy and supporting approximately 935 jobs.

“The ability of the cruise industry to safely resume operations in Western Australia in a safe and gradual manner will provide a significant economic boost to the tourism sector, particularly in Broome in the short term, for the Kimberley cruise season” , Mr. McGowan said.

“Our safe and phased approach to the return of cruise shipping means we are providing these businesses with the ability to operate safely once their cruising season begins, while managing the risk to public health.”

Tourism Minister Roger Cook said it would be a big boost for the local economy and tourism.

“The cruise ship sector has the potential to make a significant contribution to job creation and boost the tourism sector, and prior to Covid-19 millions were injected into port destinations across the country each year. ‘State,’ he said.

“The safe recovery of the cruise sector will see the cruise industry grow across WA’s 10 cruise destinations in the future.”

The first large ships are expected on the east coast at the end of May.

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