• Newsletter
  • Write a Review
  • Boards
  • Deals
  • Find a Cruise
  • Reviews
  • News
  • Cruise Tips
You may also like
P&O Arrival Pacific Explorer arrives at Circular Quay (Photo by Caroline Gladstone)

Cruise Passengers Numbers in Australia Reach 90% of 2019 Figures Despite a Short Season and COVID Protocols

P&O Arrival Pacific Explorer arrives at Circular Quay (Photo by Caroline Gladstone)
Louise Goldsbury

May 3, 2023

Read time
2 min read

(9:45 p.m. AEST) -- Cruise passenger numbers reached 90% of their 2019 total in the latter half of 2022, according to figures released by the Cruise Lines International Association.

A total of 457,200 Australians cruised in 2022, despite a limited number of ships in the region and only a half year of local operations.

The figures are even more impressive as COVID-19 protocols -- insisting all passengers over the age of 12 are fully vaccinated -- remain in place. The rest of the world has dropped its COVID-19 protocols, including Japan yesterday.

Australia's Cruise Recovery "Faster Than Other Parts of the World"

Pacific Explorer (Photo: Tim Faircloth)

"Cruising initially returned to Australia in a very limited form and relatively recently, but the response from cruise fans has been terrific," said CLIA Managing Director Australasia Joel Katz.

"Cruise travel among Australians accelerated significantly in the lead-up to the summer season, and we estimate that by the last quarter of the year passenger numbers had reached approximately 90% of the levels seen in the same quarter of 2019," he said.

"All the indicators suggest Australia's cruise recovery is progressing faster than other parts of the world where operations resumed much earlier."

Cruising in Australia only restarted at the end of May 2022, with domestic cruising only. This was followed by the first cruises in New Zealand in August 2022, and by other South Pacific destinations soon after.

Australian cruisers showed a clear preference for local sailings in 2022, with 90% choosing to cruise in our region, up from about 75-80% in past years.

Australia's last full year of cruise operations was in 2019 when 1.24 million Australians took an ocean cruise.

Australia Has Maintained COVID-19 Protocols For Cruising

Royal Caribbean is providing masks, hand sanitizer, and contact tracing bracelets for all passengers onboard (Photo: masteradept/Cruise Critic member)

Australia has maintained its protocols to prevent unvaccinated passengers on cruises unless they have a medical exemption.

According to the Eastern Seaboard and Western Australian Cruise Protocols, for cruise lines operating in Australia “all passengers aged over 12 must be fully vaccinated (at least two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine) to board a cruise ship”.

Passengers with a medical exemption are permitted to travel; however, a cruise ship must not exceed a maximum threshold of 5 percent of all passengers onboard (noting that prior infection with COVID-19 is not grounds for a medical exemption). All children under 12 years old, whether vaccinated or not, are permitted to travel.

Crew are also required to be vaccinated, with no medical exemptions granted.

The protocols were developed last year by the Federal and state governments, public health authorities and representatives from the cruise industry, and cruise lines agreed to implement them on a voluntary basis to support safe cruising. In late 2022, the protocols were updated ahead of the summer cruise season, with no indication when a review would lead to further changes.

The 2023/24 summer season commences in October.

Updated May 03, 2023
How was this article?
About UsCruise DestinationsFirst Time CruisersFind A Cruise

International Sites

© 1995—2023, The Independent Traveler, Inc.

  • Privacy and Cookies Statement

  • Terms of Use

  • Site Map