A rolling pause of P&O Cruises Australia's operations in New Zealand will be extended until July 2022 as the industry continues to be battered by the choppy seas of border closures and COVID-19 restrictions.
The cruise line, which has had ships based in Auckland for a number of years, will now return to New Zealand for a dedicated 150-day season in July 2022.
P&O Cruises Australia president Sture Myrmell says the start of the new year brought renewed optimism and confidence but maintains it is important for the operator to be realistic about the immediate future of the industry.
"We know that much better days lie ahead and we remain positive about the resumption of cruising," says Myrmell.
"While we've paused operations, P&O Cruises together with the wider industry has been using the time wisely to plan for cruising's return.
"As we work towards this goal, we wanted to provide our Kiwi guests with as much certainty as possible and flexibility around their 2021 bookings and an opportunity to reschedule their cruise holiday for 2022 or beyond."
Initially scheduled to start sailing from Auckland from 6 February 2021, Pacific Explorer's operations were previously paused to 4 March 2021 and are now paused to 25 April.
In Australia, Pacific Adventure is currently scheduled to begin sailing from Sydney on 30 April 2021 while Pacific Encounter is due to call Brisbane home from 7 May - although additional voyages may be added earlier, depending on the timing of the return of cruising in Australia.
The extended pause in operations from New Zealand affects the following cruises:
- Pacific Explorer: X112N, X113N, X114N, X115N, X116N, X117N, X118N, X119N, X120N.
Australia reports five new COVID-19 cases
Four new COVID-19 cases in New South Wales and one in Victoria have been detected in Australia today, sparking further concerns of community transmission of the coronavirus.
The four new cases in NSW were discovered after 32,667 people went out and got tested for COVID-19 yesterday - a welcome improvement in testing numbers according to Acting Premier John Barilaro.
With the Sydney cricket test between Australia and India set to begin tomorrow health authorities have asked all attendees to wear a mask while at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
They have also asked attendees to reconsider using public transport to attend the match while Sydneysiders in Western Sydney COVID-19 hotspots have been banned from attending.
The one case in VIC is so far unlinked to any of the current outbreaks in the state.
The man who tested positive has sparked fears of potential spreading of COVID-19 in VIC as he attended day two of the Boxing Day test match at the MCG and went to Boxing Day sales at Chadstone Shopping Centre on 26 December.
Those who were in Zone 5 of the MCG's Great Southern Stand or who went to any of the stores the man visited on Boxing Day have been urged to get tested and isolate until they receive a negative result.
Victorian health officials have listed the following stores in Chadstone Shopping Centre as sites of concern:
- Culture Kings
- JD Sports
- Jay Jays
- Foot Locker
- Dumplings Plus
Updated at 12.18pm AEDT on 6 January 2021.
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