Vaccination is an incredible way to prevent the spread of infectious disease. It greatly reduces the risk of getting sick in the first place, and in many cases, in the midst of an outbreak, it’s the only chance of slowing or stopping the disease in its tracks. There are vaccines for diseases that every child in Australia is already vaccinated against, like polio, but thanks to the recent measles outbreak in Europe, there is also the possibility of importing the measles virus into Australia.
One of Australia’s two main travel health agencies, CLIA Australia, has just released a roadmap that outlines in detail what its members need to do in order to be eligible for a six week cruise, when the industry typically recommends a ten day cruise.
Have you ever thought about getting your tetanus booster while traveling to Australia? Or maybe you’ve already had one? If you haven’t, it’s time to think about it. Australia is the only country in the world to allow its health workers to give out vaccinations against any disease they choose. This can be quite worrying for some people, because, while the diseases are preventable, there’s really no way to know what you’re getting other than by getting it.
The Australian chapter of the Cruise Companies International Association (CLIA), which represents the majority of the world’s cruise lines, has filed a proposal to restart sailing from Australia.
(Viking Cruises photo)
The four-phase plan is intended to operate in concert with the country’s COVID pandemic strategy, and it is largely reliant on national immunization rates.
When 70 percent of the population is completely vaccinated, the CLIA plan calls for the return of restricted domestic-only cruises, followed by the establishment of trans-Tasman and other cruise “bubbles” when vaccination levels reach 80 percent. Those levels are anticipated to be reached by the end of the year, based on current vaccination rates.
According to the Australian newspaper, CLIA managing director Australasia Joel Katz said at an online conference attended by almost 1000 participants that the cruise sector needs stability and a clear route to guarantee its future.
Carnival announces which ships will return this fall, and others have been postponed until 2022.
“This is about putting preparations in place ahead of time so that we can be ready when circumstances improve and the immunization rate rises,” Katz said.
“Our governments have devised a four-step plan to reopen Australia, and we are now requesting that our own four-step plan be included in the process.”
The features of the CLIA’s suggested restart strategy are as follows:
The Queen Mary 2 is docked in Sydney Harbor. (Photo courtesy of Cunard)
- Negotiating agreements with government and health authorities on procedures such as obligatory immunizations, onboard testing, contract tracking, and epidemic response strategies would be part of Phase One.
- Phase Two would allow for local-only cruise itineraries with no foreign passengers or international port visits, comparable to the UK’s domestic cruise program.
- Expanded domestic sailings and the creation of international bubbles would be part of Phase Three. After the end of lockdowns and the opening of state borders inside Australia, this would happen.
- Phase Four, after high domestic vaccination levels have been achieved, would see the resumption of foreign cruises from Australian ports, which would be backed up by continuing health restrictions.
During the online conference, Katz added, “Cruising requires lengthy lead-times ahead of operations, so we need a plan in place now so we can work towards resurrecting a sector worth more than $5 billion AUD (USD $3.7 billion) a year to communities across Australia.”
Wendy Harch, Chief Commercial Officer of ‘Starts At 60,’ a website for Australians aged 60 and above, welcomed the CLIA news and advised anyone interested in cruising in the coming months to book early since space is anticipated to fill up fast.
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“With millions of dollars in cruise credits held by the cruising public in 2020 and 2021, the pressure on availability in 2022 is immense,” she added.
“If you want to cruise in 2022, we strongly advise you to book soon or risk missing out. In 2023, several new cruise destinations will be available, including Alaska, Europe, and Japan. Because the northern hemisphere is already sailing, it is strongly advised that you book your preferred trip and accommodation type as soon as possible or risk missing out.”
Despite the possibility of additional lockdowns and cancellations, Harch believes cruisers should book with confidence.
Sydney Harbor Bridge is a landmark in Sydney, Australia (Photo: Celebrity Cruises)
“Many cruise companies have extremely favorable cancellation policies, so you may book with complete assurance that your deposit will be refunded in full before the final payment deadline and any cancellation penalties kick in.”
Cunard scrapped a planned two-ship Australia and New Zealand season slated for late this year and early next year, citing a lack of a restart strategy.
The new CLIA strategy should encourage cruise companies to start booking future trips to Australia.
This morning, the Australian Government announced that missed vaccinations will no longer be the reason for cruise ship restarts. With the introduction of the new policy, passengers who miss vaccinations while on board the cruise ship will only need to pay for the missed vaccinations themselves. So while $250 is $250 no matter what, this is a great move by the Australian Government.. Read more about clia training and let us know what you think.
This article broadly covered the following related topics:
- clia newsletter
- clia report
- function of cruise lines international association
- sustainable cruising
- clia training