New Zealand Grants Conditional Approval for Cruises to Resume in 2021

New Zeland to resume cruising in 2021
Le Lapérouse - courtesy of Ponant

Published Dec 24, 2020 6:31 PM by The Maritime Executive

New Zealand is becoming the next world destination to permit a limited resumption of cruising starting in February 2021. New Zealand’s Ministry of Health granted conditional approval to the French cruise company Ponant to restart cruises in New Zealand limited to local residents.

Ponant responded thanking the New Zealand officials and calling it an important first step. The company had been in dialogue for months with officials in both New Zealand and Australia hoping to open a regional travel bubble. While Australia remains closed to cruising, Ponant said it looked forward to the opportunities in New Zealand and believes these actions “takes us closer to the time when borders re-open and cruising resumes.”

Ponant announced that it will position its 9,900 gross ton cruise ship the Le Lapérouse in New Zealand to offer cruises around the islands. Introduced in December 2017, the ship is designed for luxury expedition cruising and accommodates a maximum of 184 passengers. The cruise ship is currently anchored off Jakarta. 

“Our excitement is twofold,” said Sarina Bratton, Chairman Asia Pacific for Ponant. “Firstly, to have the opportunity and privilege to offer ‘Bubble Expeditions’ for Kiwis, enabling exploration of some of the most remote and inaccessible parts of that country, so rich in natural beauty and extraordinary wildlife. And secondly, to support our partners and deliver economic benefit to New Zealand.”

Ponant, which focuses on small ship cruising sailing to exploration destinations, initially resumed service in the summer of 2020 mostly with cruises from France as well as to the Arctic. The company also owns Paul Gaugin Cruises which operates in French Polynesia and also resumed service during the summer of 2020.