Australia’s ban on cruise ships entering the country’s waters ends this Sunday after Prime Minister Scott Morrison decided not to renew the ban for the first time since the measure started due to the pandemic.
The luxury cruise ship Pacific Explorer has pulled into Sydney Harbour, making it the first to return to Australian shores.
Australia’s Pacific Explorer would be entering Sydney Harbor on Monday morning from Singapore. It is the first international cruise ship to arrive in the country.
P&O Australia’s $400 million luxury liner, which has a capacity for almost 2000 passengers, arrived in Sydney on Monday morning.
The ABC showed the ship docking surrounded by tugboats, with a huge banner at the bow reading “We’re Home”.
Industry bosses expect passenger numbers to return to pre-pandemic levels but passengers won’t be able to get onboard immediately.
The states of New South Wales, Victoria, and Queensland have outlined additional safety measures for passengers and crew in preparation for the ships’ return.
Western Australia and the Northern Territory will allow smaller ships to visit their ports, while Tasmania and South Australia have not announced their plans yet.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, Australia welcomed more than 600,000 cruise passengers across the border.
Australia reopened its borders to fully vaccinated international travelers on February 21. The national border was closed for almost two years.
A phased reopening of the borders began last year, with international students, work visa holders, and backpackers being welcomed at different stages.