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Australia: cruise liner returns to Sydney after two years of pandemic


A cruise liner, the Pacific Explorer, docked this Monday, April 18 in Sydney, Australia, for the first time in two years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

A huge banner “We’re home” (“we are back home”, in French) had been hung on the front of the liner, and dozens of people went to Sydney Harbor to see the boat dock.


Crowds make their way to the Sydney Harbor wharf to see the Pacific Explorer dock. Credit: SAEED KHAN / AFP

All cruise ships were banned from entering Australian waters in March 2020 when an outbreak broke out on board the Ruby Princess, another ship. The cases then spread to Australia. Faced with this arrival of the pandemic on the territory, Australia had implemented a “zero Covid” policy, and imposed extremely strict restrictions, in particular concerning entry into the territory.

During these months of border closures, some cruise ships, including the Pacific Explorer, have been moored off Cyprus for much of the last year, awaiting the lifting of this ban.

Mandatory vaccine

The activity of the P&O company, a ferry company, is gradually returning to its “pre-pandemic” level for its cruises to Australia. “We are now looking at an almost normal summer season in 2022-23,” said a spokeswoman.

However, tourists must continue to comply with certain health rules, and must for example present a complete vaccination schedule, i.e. two doses of vaccines recognized by the Australian government, such as Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca etc. In some areas, unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated travelers may still be subject to strict quarantine.