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Down Under cruisers, rejoice: Australia to reopen to cruise ships in April

March 15, 2022
4 min read
Down Under cruisers, rejoice: Australia to reopen to cruise ships in April
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Australia will allow its cruise ban to expire, and it will not instate a new one, the country's Department of Health announced on Tuesday.

"On the basis of medical advice, the Australian Government will not renew the ban on international cruise ships arriving and departing from Australian ports, when the current determination expires on April 17," the agency said in a statement on its website.

The government, which has been notoriously strict with COVID-19 protocols, is one of the last to end its cruise ban, which will have been in place for more than two years by the time it expires.

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Under the terms of the ban's expiration, Australia has laid out requirements for cruises when they resume. They include mandatory passenger vaccination, the completion of health questionnaires by cruisers, reporting of onboard cases before ships arrive in Australian ports and testing of vessels' protocols for dealing with cases of COVID-19.

Melbourne, Australia (Photo by Walter Bibikow/Getty Images)

"This is great news for the cruise industry, tourism, the broader economy and the Australians who love to take a cruise holiday," said Dan Tehan, Australia's minister for trade, tourism and investment, in a statement. "The resumption of cruising is another key step forward in the tourism sector's recovery from COVID-19."

According to the press release, more than 94% of Australians 16 and older have had two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine, and more than 12 million have received boosters.

As for international passengers, Australia is eager to welcome them back, too.

"I can’t wait to see our cruise terminals once again filled with arriving international passengers, getting this important industry ship-shape and back out on the water once more," said Karen Andrews, minister for home affairs, noting that, in 2019, Australia saw more than 600,000 cruise passengers from nearly 350 different ships.

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The decision comes after several cruise lines temporarily pulled out of the region.

Carnival Spirit in the Sydney Harbour (Photo by James D. Morgan/Getty Images for Carnival Cruise Lines Australia)

In early February, Carnival Cruise Line decided to bring Australia-based Carnival Spirit and Carnival Splendor back to North America. The former, which was based Down Under for a decade, will sail from Jacksonville into April before relocating from Florida to Seattle via the Panama Canal for a series of Alaska sailings through summer 2022. The latter is slated to join Carnival Spirit in Alaska before redeploying back to Australia at the end of the summer.

After previously pulling out of Australia, Princess Cruises said Tuesday it will resume sailings there with Coral Princess in June 2022. Pending approval from the Australian government, the ship is scheduled to homeport in Brisbane, featuring three- to 12-night voyages calling on ports in Queensland and New South Wales. In August, the ship will reposition to Sydney for the 2022/23 cruise season. Majestic Princess will also begin sailing from Sydney in February 2023.

As a result of the new deployments, Princess will cancel select voyages on Diamond Princess, Royal Princess, Ruby Princess and Majestic Princess that were to include Australia. The line is in the process of notifying affected passengers.

Finally, P&O Australia, a Carnival Corp. brand dedicated to the Australia market, said Tuesday on its website that it has canceled additional sailings on Pacific Adventure and Pacific Encounter as far out as October 2022 but that it will also bring back some sailings as early as May 2022 on Pacific Explorer. (The line had previously canceled voyages through late November.)

Featured image by The Princess Cruises ship Pacific Princess in Sydney, Australia. (Photo courtesy of Princess Cruises)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Apply for American Express® Gold Card
at American Express's secure site
Terms & restrictions apply. See rates & fees
Best for the well-traveled foodie
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S.
4XEarn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
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    Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.

    60,000 bonus points
  • Annual Fee

    $250
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Excellent/Good

Why We Chose It

There's a lot to love about the Amex Gold card. It's been a fan favorite during the pandemic because of its fantastic rewards rate on restaurants (that includes takeout and delivery in the U.S.!) and U.S. supermarkets. If you're hitting the skies soon, you'll also earn bonus points on travel. Paired with up to $120 in Uber Cash (for U.S. Uber rides or Uber Eats orders) and up to $120 in annual dining statement credits at eligible partners, there's no reason that the foodie shouldn't add this card to their wallet. Enrollment required.

Pros

  • 4x on dining at restaurants and U.S. supermarkets (on the first $25,000 in purchases per calendar year; then 1x)
  • 3x on flights booked directly with the airline or with Amex Travel
  • Welcome bonus of 60,000 points after spending $4,000 in the first six months

Cons

  • Weak on travel outside of flights and everyday spending bonus categories
  • Not as useful for those living outside the U.S.
  • Some may have trouble using Uber/food credits
  • Few travel perks and protections
  • Earn 60,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $4,000 on eligible purchases with your new Card within the first 6 months of Card Membership.
  • Earn 4X Membership Rewards® Points at Restaurants, plus takeout and delivery in the U.S., and earn 4X Membership Rewards® points at U.S. supermarkets (on up to $25,000 per calendar year in purchases, then 1X).
  • Earn 3X Membership Rewards® points on flights booked directly with airlines or on amextravel.com.
  • $120 Uber Cash on Gold: Add your Gold Card to your Uber account and each month automatically get $10 in Uber Cash for Uber Eats orders or Uber rides in the U.S., totaling up to $120 per year.
  • $120 Dining Credit: Satisfy your cravings and earn up to $10 in statement credits monthly when you pay with the American Express® Gold Card at Grubhub, The Cheesecake Factory, Goldbelly, Wine.com, Milk Bar and select Shake Shack locations. Enrollment required.
  • Choose the color that suits your style. Gold or Rose Gold.
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees.
  • Annual Fee is $250.
  • Terms Apply.
  • See Rates & Fees